Eternal Lives, Chapter 1

This entry is part 1 of 17 in the series Eternal Lives


Search for the Truth

Note: This book includes many LDS references to assist them in understanding the important principle of reincarnation, but people of all belief systems should find something of interest here.  Those who have read my shorter treatises of Reincarnation and the Bible and Reincarnation and Mormonism will enjoy the additional material and references included here.

When I was a young boy I remember hearing my neighbors discussing the story of Bridie Murphy, a girl who under hypnosis was able to recall previous lives on the earth.  At the time I thought that the doctrine of passing through numerous lives sounded fair and just and I accepted it with the faith of a child.  I thought that, for instance, if one were to die with unfinished goals or be cut off when he was young or happened to be crippled or blind all his life that it would indeed be fair to receive another chance. If there was only one life why is it that we are all born in such diverse circumstances – some favored, some disfavored?  How could a baby who had only taken a few breaths and died possibly gain any mortal experience?  We may hear many platitudes about how great his situation is in heaven, but why should he be denied the knowledge gained from a long mortal experience for all eternity.

J. Reuben Clark once said that he could not understand how one single life of trial even if we had a long one, could qualify us for an eternity of bliss since life seemed so short, and neither could I.

Life isbut a flicker of light between two eternities.  What great effect could one little flicker have on either of them?  A great effect could only come by many flickers.

When I started attending the LDS church about the age of 13 someone finally told me that we only have one life – that this was the doctrine of the church.  Since I believed the church I had to mentally accept this, but in my heart I still felt that those who had only lived a short life should have another chance to see what they could do if they had at least an average life span.  Finally, after I became more steeped in church doctrine I came across the scripture: “And as it is appointed unto men ONCE to die, but after this the judgment.” Heb.9:27.  There it was at last!  Now I was convinced. Man dies only once and he is born only once so there is no reincarnation. That settled it.  From then on I decided to put my faith in the justice of God, that he would make things right in the end, and not worry about it any more.  I went on a mission and if anyone brought up reincarnation I quoted them Hebrews 9:27 and bore my testimony and generally they had no defense  Then one day a newspaper ran an article about a couple who had lost a pair of twins in an Auto accident.  A short time later this couple gave birth to a second set of twins.  As this second set grew the couple noticed that they began to look and act exactly like the first. They even had moles in the exact same location.  As they learned to talk they even had flashbacks to their lives as the previous twins and remembered their old toys and began to show the same quirks of character as the first set.

When the non members and even some of the members asked for an explanation of this article I found that for the first time on my mission that I was without a satisfactory explanation.  About all I was able to come up with was that it must be a trick of the devil or else a very astounding coincidence, still in my heart I wondered about the whole truth of the matter.

Later on I did some experiments in hypnosis and took numerous people back to what they described a previous life.  Some were able to speak foreign languages and dialects and give detailed descriptions of ancient times.  I viewed these experiences with great wonder, but I wasn’t about to let them “shake my testimony”.  After all Joseph Fielding Smith and others said it was a doctrine of the devil – so it must be false.  The trick was in how could I explain this regression to previous lives?  I had several theories:  (1) Some tricky evil spirit took possession of their bodies during hypnosis and was trying to fool me.  Well, if this were the case the evil spirit was certainly consistent.  It seemed as if about ninety percent of those hypnotized were able to go back, even many who did not believe in reincarnation.  Also this evil spirit seemed to have a good memory as a person can be regressed weeks or even years later and recall the same past lives..  Also I have had experience with evil spirits numerous times in the past.  I have been attacked by them and have administered to others who have been possessed and each time I was able to discern them through the Spirit.  This time the spirit told me that no evil spirit was present so I went to my next theory: (2) I called this the race memory theory.  This theory states that each cell of the human body has inherit in it the memory of all our ancestors and at the moment of conception the memory of all of one’s ancestors are passed on.  This would explain why one could have in his subconscious mind memories of past lives.  This sounded the most logical so I accepted it.

Then one day I had a rather amazing occurrence.  I had become acquainted with a newly married couple and when we were having a party I hypnotized the wife while the husband was at the store. I took her back to several previous lives and she described names and dates in great detail.  After I brought her back to the present her husband returned and he was completely unaware of anything his wife had said (No he wasn’t listening at the door).  He agreed to hypnosis and to my amazement he described two previous lifetimes in exactly the same detail as his wife.  His wife had stated her husband’s name in a previous life and he recalled that same name. They were husband and wife in at least two previous lifetimes. Their stories coincided exactly.  Maybe that old devil was at it again I thought!  Still my faith was unshaken and I decided to put it on the shelf and wait.

Meanwhile I found out that many people went back to previous lifetimes under hypnosis to discover that they were of a completely different race.  They were regressed to people that they could not have been related to.  My race memory theory began to break apart. Still I figured that there could be no reincarnation as it would shatter too many cherished principles of the gospel, yet there must be an answer.

Finally, the answer came.  I will not give out all the details, but the spirit of the Lord came to me and gave me a difficult commandment that would not only affect me in this world, but the one to come.  Why would the Lord command me to do something contrary to my will and contrary to producing a state of happiness? I thought.  I would be damned if I obeyed and damned if I disobeyed, yet I put all the faith I had in the goodness of God and submitted.  God did not come down and erase all the problems his commandment created, I had to struggle with them, but as compensation to those who obey His will he paved the way for greater knowledge.  I began to see that His commandment would only be fair if there were more than one life.  Perhaps there was something I had done in a past life to warrant the commandment I had received, then if there were future lives all inequalities could be justified.  I began to ponder on this idea considerably and as I did I began to experience the truth of the words of Alma:  “If it be a true seed, or a good seed… behold it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves it must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.”  Alma 32:28

As I pondered more I saw how reincarnation was a master piece of a giant jigsaw puzzle that threw light on the entire scene. I began to see how little we really know.  It is like the story of the three blind men and the elephant.  One grabs a leg and says “I perceive that the elephant is like a tree.”  The second grabs the trunk and states:  “No, no the elephant is like a large hose.”  The third grabs the tail and says:  “you’re both wrong.  The elephant is like a rope.”  Actually, all three men were right, but because they only had a portion of the truth they had an entirely wrong idea of the whole elephant.  This is the way it is with us.  That portion that we have is correct, but we as a people have an entirely wrong idea of what the whole elephant looks like.  The Lord has said “I shall also speak unto ALL NATIONS of the earth and THEY SHALL WRITE IT.” II Nephi 29:12  The Lord has indeed spoken to all nations of the earth and they have written it, but because that portion describes the tail, trunk or ear of the elephant and does not agree with the leg that we have we rise up and condemn them as being of the devil.  The key to judge was given by Moroni:  “Wherefore, all things which are good cometh of God.” Moroni 7:12  Read all of Moroni chapter seven and you will have a good idea of how to find the “best books” that Joseph Smith was commanded to search out.

Yes, the idea of many lives began to be delicious to me and enlighten my understanding, and broaden my mind.  I can, however, understand many people’s repulsion to it for as many say  “Once is enough!”  They say this because they never want to go through the trials they have had in life again, but what men fail to realize is that this earth is the hell most often talked about in the scriptures and it will continue to be until we follow Jesus’ advice to “take my yoke upon you… and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Matt 11:29-30.  When a person reaches a certain point of progression along the path he begins to overcome his enemies and actually looks forward to future trials and almost relishes in them.  The burdens and cares of earth life begin to be light “And they desire a better country, that is an heavenly.”  Heb. 11:16.

Reincarnation also answered some strange aspects of LDS doctrine.  For instance, The church believes that not only will all men be resurrected but all living things will.  This is derived from the scripture:  “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”  I Cor 15:22  This “all” we are told means everything including animal, birds, bees plants, insects and even bacteria.  Has anyone ever stopped to think what this would mean?  It would mean that every fly that has ever lived would come back and be immortal.  Taking into consideration the shorter life span of the fly the results would spell disaster indeed.  For every person now living there may have only a couple times that amount since Adam, but for every fly now living there would have been thousands perhaps millions!  This could mean that in the resurrection there may be a million times more flies than there is now!!!  Do you call that heaven?  How about bacteria?  A human grows much more than his body weight in a lifetime of bacteria alone.  A man’s body will not be able to hold all of that when he comes back so what will happen?  Are we going to have immortal heaps of bacteria scattered around to distort our countryside?  Even if the animals alone are brought back they would be so numerous that it would make life unbearable for humans.  I might ad:  Let us hope that the immortal mosquito does not attempt to get whatever is in our immortal veins!

If such a point as this is brought up to the typical Mormon he will smile and say:  “Don’t worry yourselves about such matters.  God will work it all out.”

God not only “will” work it all out, He already has.  The fly will never reach immortality as a fly, even though his intelligence will never die and always progresses.  Instead at death the fly goes to the spirit world and comes back a short time later as a fly again.  Thus there is a limited number of spirits that take bodies as flies so we do not have to worry about being overwhelmed in any resurrection.  An oversoul for an insect may even control numerous bodies at one incarnation.  This is why there is such great unity and cooperation in various groups in the insect world.  Another interesting point is the fly, when it fills the measure of its’ creation will disappear completely from this earth.  Then the spirits will be free to seek another and higher form.

“But that can’t be true!” says one. “All things will be resurrected and be immortal.”

Sorry, but that is not what the scriptures say.  According to them only one has achieved immortality: “That thou keep this commandment without spot unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; WHO ONLY HATH IMMORTALITY, dwelling in a light which no man can approach unto… I Tim 6:16.  This is indeed an amazing scripture for it plainly tells us that only the Christ possesses immortality or the Greek ATHANASIA which means literally “Deathlessness” and is only found three places in the scriptures, none of which conflict with the above.  If this scripture is true, it would mean that those who were resurrected with the Christ are not yet immortal and will die again.  That also means that, at least up to the time of Timothy, no one else had experienced an immortal resurrection as Christ did.  That means that there is more than one type of resurrection as is plainly manifest in the scripture:  “Others were tortured not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a BETTER RESURRECTION.”  Heb 11:35. There are three Greek words in all from which the word “resurrection” is translated.

Putting all the pieces of the puzzle together we can safely say that only the highest resurrection produces immortality and man must pass through numerous lifetimes and “receive not a fullness at first… but continue from grace to grace (life to life), until he receive a fullness.”  D&C 93:12-13.  We must do as Jesus did and progress from life to life until we become like unto: “a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Eph 4:13  Then we may step forward ourselves and be like the savior as we have been commanded (Matt 5:48) and become the savior of an age: “That you may come unto the Father in my name, and in due time (after many lifetimes) receive of his fullness.” D&C 93:19.

Copyright by J J Dewey

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Eternal Lives, Chapter 2

This entry is part 2 of 17 in the series Eternal Lives

The Inseparable Connection

My mind reflects back now to another curiosity in Mormon doctrine caused by a lack of information. The Church believes that many of us will go to the celestial kingdom and there become Gods and have spirit children and eventually create our own worlds and people them. Then our children on those worlds will pray to us and worship us as Gods. Since the course of God is “one eternal round” (I Nephi 10:19) that means that the course of God in the past will be like that of the future. Taking this into account it means that our God at one time lived on another world like this. This is recognized by Mormon doctrine since Lorenzo Snow said “as man is God once was.” Now the question that arises is this: When God was on this other world was he the Savior of that world, or was he an Apostle, or maybe he was just an Elder who was a faithful home teacher? Then too he may have died as a baby and only breathed a few breaths. Maybe he was born during a Millennium and knew no sin.

Let’s suppose that God was a typical member of the Church in His day. He had to spend most of his life just earning a living. He paid his tithes and offerings and did his home teaching and obeyed his Bishop. He never had any opportunity to be a savior for he would have never dreamed of comparing himself to such. Finally, he died and went off to the spirit world and there by some mysterious process learned everything necessary to be a God. Now he is up there in heaven and we worship him. The question I have is, would not God feel humiliated to have a Son like Jesus who showed him up so much when he came down for his life? If this were the case then Jesus did ten times as good in his earth life as his Father did. How can I show due respect to a God that has not experienced all the tribulation of earth life that I have? Such a God could not succor me in every time of need. One can only have a very limited number of experiences and trials in one life. Each person I meet can only understand a portion of my problems because only a portion of his problems are similar to mine. What right did God have to command Abraham to take the life of his son or Jesus to be crucified if he had not went through a similar experience himself? What right did God have to expect his son to be a savior if he had not done so himself?

Let us suppose that ten million souls on God’s original earth made it to the celestial kingdom and became Gods. That would roughly mean that we have one chance in ten million of having for our god the person that was the savior of a world. Chances would be our God is merely some Elder that did his duty, but wait! The scriptures tell us that we are the lucky ones! Our God was the Savior of a world. Jesus said: “The Son can do nothing of himself, but what HE SEETH THE FATHER DO: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth.” John 5:19-20

Here we have it! God must have been a savior at one time for what Jesus did when he was here was almost a carbon copy of what he saw the Father did. Our God then certainly does deserve our respect, but what about the other Gods who were not Saviors? How can their only begotten Sons say that they are doing what their Fathers did? How could they teach anyone else to be a Savior if they have not learned how and proven it through an actual life as a Savior themselves? They could not. To become a God we must “overcome all things” D&C 76:60 and “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.” I Cor 15:26. Jesus overcame all things and the last enemy he overcame was death and after many lives it will be our last enemy for we as yet have not overcome all things for he “only hath immortality”. I Tim 6:16.

How could one possibly overcome all the weaknesses of mortality in one life??? Many believe that in some mysterious way we do not understand we will overcome the weaknesses of the flesh in the spirit. But how can this be so? If one did not pay his tithing because he was worried about feeding his family how can he possibly gain the faith necessary to do this in the spirit where he does not have to worry about survival? One can only overcome the things of the flesh IN THE FLESH. It is as Jesus said to his disciples:

“And I will show it plainly as I showed it unto my disciples as I stood before them in the flesh and spake unto them saying: As ye have asked me concerning the signs of my coming, in the day when I shall come in my glory in the clouds Of heaven, to fulfill the promises that I have made unto your fathers. For as ye have looked upon the long absence of your spirits from your bodies to be a bondage, I wil1 show unto you how the day of redemption shall come… D&C 45:16-17 Here Jesus was talking to the disciples during his mortal life and he commented on the apostles grumbling about the hardship of their spirits being separate from their bodies, obviously in the past. But if their life with Jesus was their first life, when were their spirits ever separated from their bodies and, how did they know it was a bondage? If their spirits had previously been separated from their bodies then sometime in their past they occupied other bodies. The disciples were merely complaining about their lack of progress between lifetimes!

The disciples like Abraham had lived numerous lives as shown in the scriptures: “And Joshua said unto the people, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, your father dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time… (The other side of the flood probably means before the days of the flood of Noah) … And I took Abraham FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE FLOOD, and led him throughout all the land of Canaan…” Joshua 24:2-3. This scripture certainly implies that Abraham lived on the other side of the flood, or before the flood, in a previous lifetime

It is as Joseph Smith said: We progress “from grace to grace and exaltation to exaltation until we attain the resurrection of the dead” History of the Church Vol. 6:306

Now the common belief in the church is that we are resurrected and then exalted, but Joseph here states point blank that we must first not only be exalted, but go from exaltation to exaltation before we attain the resurrection.

As we shall see it is obvious that Joseph believed in reincarnation, but this was one of the doctrines he had to keep secret and teach only with subtle hints except for some close friends as indicated in Orson Whitney’s diary:

“During our talks he (Lorenzo Snow) told me that his sister, the late Eliza R. Snow Smith was a firm believer in the principle of reincarnation and that she claimed to have received it from Joseph the Prophet, her husband. He said he saw nothing unreasonable in it, and could believe it, if it came to him from the Lord or his oracle.” Diary of Orson F. Whitney June 8, 1889

Joseph Lee Robinson, a contemporary of Joseph Smith wrote:

“We also heard him [Joseph] say that God had revealed unto him that any man who ever committed adultery in either of his probations that that man could never be raised to the highest exaltation in the celestial glory and that he [Joseph] felt anxious with regard to himself and he inquired of the Lord and the Lord told him that he, Joseph, had never committed adultery [see D&C 132:41]. This saying of the Prophet astonished me very much. It opened up to me a very wide field of reflection. The idea that we had passed through probation prior to this and that we must have been married and given in marriage in those probations or there would be no propriety in making such an assertion and that there were several exaltations in the Celestial Kingdom of our God, the highest we supposed to be the Godhead and we conclude that there are several grades of exaltations in servants to the Gods. Be this as it may, this is what he said.” (The Journal of Joseph Lee Robinson, p.12)

Orson Hyde applied the term “baby resurrection” to the coming reunion with our bodies. By this he meant that instead of obtaining new bodies by raising out of the grave we will become babies again by coming out of the womb of a female. From An Intimate Chronicle: The Journals Of William Clayton, pg 429-430

Other of the early brethren referred to the resurrection as “multiple moralities” and were open to all possibilities as to how the resurrection will play out.

John Taylor clearly pointed out the need to overcome all things before any final triumph: “If any man or woman expects to enter into the celestial kingdom of our God without being tested to the very uttermost, they have not understood the gospel. If there is a weak spot in our nature, or if there is a fiber that can be made to quiver or to shrink, we may rest assured that it will be tested.” THE KINGDOM OF GOD OR NOTHING page 345. “For everyone shall be salted with fire.” Mark 9:49 “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even AS I ALSO OVERCAME, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” Rev. 3:21

Any reasonable person will admit that in one lifetime it would be impossible to be tested in all things or to overcome as did Jesus.

Clearly, then, we are to follow in the footsteps of Jesus and eventually live the perfect life: “And he that overcometh and keepth my works unto the end to him wil1 I give power over the nations.. EVEN AS I RECEIVED OF MY FATHER. Rev 2:26-27 “As my Father hath sent me, even so I send you.” John 20:21. Finally God says: “Him that over cometh I will make a pillar in the temple of my God, AND HE SHALL GO NO MORE OUT (Shall not have to be reborn) Rev 3:12

To show clearly that we only achieve immortality after we achieve the status of the Christ we quote: “For man is spirit. The elements are eternal, and spirit and element, inseparably connected, receive fullness of joy. And when separated, man cannot receive fullness of joy.” D&C 93:33-34

Now I will make a statement that is beyond refute: If a fullness of joy is produced by an inseparable connection of the body and spirit then any connection where there is not an eternal connection will not produce a fullness of joy. If a fullness of joy is not produced then the union of spirit and body is temporary.

Where is there not a fullness of joy?

Obviously there is not a fullness of joy in the lower worlds of the terrestrial and telestial.

So what does this tell us?

That beyond scriptural argument the spirit and body can yet be separated and die in the lower worlds.

Those earmarked for the lower worlds are those who are subject to corruption to some degree. Where there is corruption there is always the disintegration of the form. The scriptures are clear “Whatsoever temple (body) is defiled, GOD SHALL DESTROY THAT TEMPLE.” D&C 93:35. All those in the lower kingdoms have sinned and defiled their temples so their bodies shall be destroyed. Furthermore I must point out that a Fullness of joy which produces immortality only comes in the presence of God: “In thy presence is fullness of joy.” Psalms 16:11 “They shall inherit the kingdom of God…and their joy shall be full forever.” II Nephi 9:18. Finally we see that fullness of joy comes from living a life like the Christ: “And for this cause ye shall have fullness of joy; and ye shall sit down in the kingdom of my Father; yea, your joy shall be full, EVEN AS THE FATHER HATH GIVEN ME FULLNESS OF JOY; AND YE SHALL BE EVEN AS I AM…” III Nephi 28:10.

That there is a resurrection of corruption is plainly set forth by Paul: “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap (Often in a future life). For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh REAP CORRUPTION (Greek PHTHORA means decay); but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.” Gal 6:7-8.

The doctrine of reincarnation was revealed to Joseph Smith near the end of his life, but instead of calling it reincarnation he called it “eternal lives”. D&C 132:25&55. The church has always assumed that the reason the word “lives” is plural is because more than one individual will achieve eternal life (or the husband and wife together make two eternal lives) but this idea does not coincide with the scripture: “But if she (Emma) will not abide this commandment, then shall my servant Joseph do all things for her, even as he hath said; and I will bless HIM (singular) and multiply him and give unto him an HUNDREDFOLD IN THIS WORLD, of fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, houses and lands, wives and children, and crowns of ETERNAL LIVES IN THE ETERNAL WORLDS.” D&C 132:55.

Here the Lord was definitely speaking to Joseph Smith alone, not including his wife or anyone else and promised him IN THIS WORLD (this earth existence) an hundredfold of fathers and mothers (whoever heard of having one hundred fathers and mothers?) brothers and sisters, houses (know anyone who lived in one hundred houses?) lands (How could he live in one hundred countries in one life?), wives and children (Joseph Smith never had one hundred wives and children in this world).

Remember up to now the scripture deals with “this World,” not the next. However, the scripture plainly points out that only the last few words refers to the next world: “And crowns of eternal lives (plural) in the eternal worlds (plural). In other words, we will live many lives on many other different earths, worlds far superior to this. Instead of living on a telestial earth like this we will go to terrestrial and celestial worlds made of matter whose atoms vibrate to a purer tone whose nucleus of light shines through unfolded electrons until the bodies shine like the sun where there is no night. The highest glory we may obtain in this telestial earth (where we currently live) is to be “servants of the Most High.” D&C 76:112. All the worlds you see in the sky at night are of a telestial order. The higher worlds are in a light beyond normal vision.

Only in the Celestial and above can there be a fullness of joy where standard excursions into mortality will not be necessary.

Copyright by J J Dewey

Eternal Lives, Chapter 3

This entry is part 3 of 17 in the series Eternal Lives

Physical Evidence

Not only did my own experiments, experience and study of the scriptures such as mentioned previously help convince me of reincarnation, but there are hundreds of documented cases of people remembering their past lives.  I have personally met people who remember past lives with normal consciousness without the aid of any regression techniques.

This conscious remembering is not as rare as many may think and this phenomenon caught the attention of Dr. Ian Stevenson, the former head of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Virginia, about forty years ago.  Since that time he has traveled the world studying these people and has accumulated about 3000 cases in his files.

Most of the more amazing cases occur with young children just a couple years old who are just learning to speak.  As a general rule they remember the past life for a  couple years and lose the memory around the age of five or six.

In a typical situation the child may insist that her parents are not really her parents, but that her true parents (and perhaps spouse) are in another city or part of the country).  Dr. Stevenson tries to catch these children before they had a chance to visit their home of a previous life and take them there and scientifically examine their response.  In many cases the child’s memory of a past life is proven, for the name given out is discovered to be a real person who died.  The child is then taken to the home of her past life and will identify dozens of memories that she could have not acquired in this life.  If there is some secret hiding place he or she will identify this.  If there are favorite possessions, these will be pointed out.

In one case a young girl identified a previous spouse who refused to believe that the little girl was his dead wife reborn.  She gave identification after identification of information only the wife could have known, but still the guy was unconvinced.  In desperation the little girl pulled him aside and step by step told him exactly what she did to him when they made love as husband and wife.  That did the trick.  The man was convinced.

Basically Dr. Stevenson likes to get about twenty-four items of identification from the child of things that she could have not known, about the family and circumstances of the past life before he will take it seriously or even write about it.

In 35% of cases he investigated, children who died an unnatural death developed phobias. For example, if they had drowned in a past life then they frequently developed a phobia about going out of their depth in water. If they had been shot, they were often afraid of guns and sometimes loud bangs in general. If they died in a road accident they would sometimes develop a phobia of traveling in cars, buses or trucks.

If the child’s previous life possessed a talent of some kind then the child shows a disposition to that talent as he or she matures.

The child will often express a wish for the type of food she had in a past life.

If the child was a different sex in the past life then the person will often be homosexual in the current life.

This is all the type of information that I and others who have done regression  work have discovered, but unable to give scientific proof.  The difference with Dr. Stevenson is that he delivers actual proof.

Now some will look at this type of evidence and declare that it is the work of the devil – that some tricky evil spirit is deceiving these children.

This is a poor excuse used since the beginning of time by those who have attempted to escape the power of logic and thought, and has been used against every holy man that God has sent including Jesus.  Even with the great evidence of the miracles He demonstrated before unbelieving eyes He was himself accused of being possessed by evil and doing  his miracles by the power of the evil one.  Also Joseph Smith is often accused of writing the Book of Mormon by the power of the devil.

However, the scriptures give evidence that Dr. Stevenson’s children are not influenced by Satan for it is written:

But behold, I say unto you, that little children are redeemed from the foundation of the world through mine Only Begotten;  Wherefore, they cannot sin, for power is not given to Satan to tempt little children, until they begin to become accountable before me.  D&C 29:46-47

Also: “little children are whole, for they are not capable of committing sin.” Moroni 8:8

If indeed reincarnation is the “doctrine of the devil” and wrong – or a sinful belief, then according to scripture the evil one would have no power to tempt children under the age of eight (the age of accountability) to remember past lives of actual people.

Scripture also says: “Now this is not all; little children do have words given unto them many times which confound the wise and the learned.” Alma 32:23

This is indeed the case with Stevenson’s studies.  The little children he works with have come up with powerful evidence that have confounded the wise and learned of the world.

If the reader is interested in reading numerous case studies Dr. Stevenson has done I would recommend the book:  “Children who remember Previous Lives.”

It is available at Click on the following link.
Children Who Remember Previous Lives

Perhaps even more startling than the evidences derived from recalling past lives is Dr. Stevenson’s more recent work on corresponding birthmarks from one life to the next.  He discovered that if one has a wound, particularly one that caused death, such as a gunshot, that the person will often have a birthmark in the exact placed where the wound was in a past life.  What is even more fascinating is that if the person received a bullet wound which penetrated the body and left an exit hole that the entity will have a birthmark at both the point of entrance and exit.

Even more interesting is that the exit wound is larger than the entrance, and when the corresponding birthmarks are examined he found that the birthmark at the location of the exit wound was also much bigger.

Dr. Stevenson examined 895 children, who remembered past lives, for birthmarks, corresponding to wounds and found related birthmarks on 309 of them or 35%.

The chances of this happening are very miniscule.  The average adult has about 17 square feet of skin stretching over his body.  That is 2448 square inches.  Now the chances of finding a birthmark on the same square inch of the body in a current life as a wound in a past life is 2448:1.  The chances of finding a birthmark on the same square inch of both an exit and entrance wound is much greater:  5,992,704 to one, yet Stevenson turned up this startling evidence time and  time again.

The interesting thing about the birthmark study is that the “tricky devil:” theory is even more ridiculous.  To believe the devil is bouncing around stamping birthmarks on children defies all logic.

One can read much more on this subject of birthmarks and examine the evidence himself from Dr. Stevenson’s book: “Where Reincarnation and Biology Intersect.”

One can check this out HERE

In addition to this he has a more exhaustive 2200 page study called “Reincarnation  and Biology.”

Another interesting evidence of reincarnation comes through Near Death Experiences (NDE).

Amber Wells of the University of Connecticut wrote a research paper based on her study of the near death experience for her senior honors thesis under the direction of Dr. Kenneth Ring.  She discovered that 70 percent of the people who experience NDE believe in reincarnation, and many of them so believe because of something gleaned from the experience.  On the other hand, according to Gallup only 23 percent of Americans in general believe in the doctrine.  These statistics bear out that there is something about the experience that convinced many who saw a glimpse of the great beyond that there is more than one life.

One event given by many is what is called the life review.  Some report being given the ability to review their whole life in detail, but in addition to this many also reported the obtaining of a vision of numerous past lives.

Then others report seeing entities waiting to be reborn or being told that they will have future lives.

Here in the West we tend to look on a belief in reincarnation as a minority belief expressed by a few new agers, but many do not realize that more religious people of the world accept the doctrine than reject it.

Interestingly, many of the American Indians believed in reincarnation.  The Dakota tribe taught that man lived at least four lives and in between those lives he lived with the Gods and received instruction in magic and healing.  Many of the Indian medicine men claimed to remember past lives.  The Indian hunters did not believed they actually killed an animal, but just deprived it of its body for a short time.  Often among  the Tibetans as well as Eskimos if there is an old man who knows he is going to die he will find a young couple that he likes and ask permission to be their future child.  If they accept he will give that couple his personal things that he wants for his next life and then wander off to die.  There are numerous occurrences where babies of such couples will claim such articles as their own, and for a short period of time have a recollection of the past life associated with them.

This searching for marks of identification is very common among cultures that believe in reincarnation, and especially among the Tlingit Indians and the Igbos of Nigeria. Various tribes of West Africa make marks on the body of the recently deceased in order to be able to identify the person when he or she is reborn.

All the evidence I discovered helped me to believe in reincarnation, but I did not know it for sure until the day I discovered that I had lived before. This changed my whole life and outlook and opened my eyes to a new world of seeing.

I was amazed and almost wished it wasn’t true because of the problems it could create for my church membership, but for once  in my life I realized that an average member of the church like myself may become aware of the truth of many doctrines that  neither the prophet or the general authorities know anything about.

If the reader even after seeing all the evidence of reincarnation is still not convinced he should seek an answer through the Spirit as commanded in the scriptures.  Ask with a sincere heart and you will receive an answer through the Holy Spirit.

The promise  in the Book of Mormon pertains to all true works.  Read Alma 32  and D&C 9:7-9 and see if the doctrine of reincarnation does not generate the feelings and results described.  You are commanded  to “try the spirits whether they are of God.” I John 4:1.  Remember  you are not commanded to ignore the sprits or claim they are from  the devil, or to try and destroy them, but “try them”.  It is as  Joseph Smith said: “When was the time that I was ever confounded?”  This doctrine cannot be confounded or proved wrong because it is  true and it is in the scriptures despite the efforts of the  Great and Abominable Church to remove all reference to the  doctrine.  The truth cannot be removed and  darkness only lasts during the night and then cometh the day and  we see with a perfect light.

Copyright 1996 by J J Dewey

Eternal Lives, Chapter 4

This entry is part 4 of 17 in the series Eternal Lives

Precept Upon Precept

The doctrine of reincarnation will be a comfort to the pure in heart, a stumbling block and thorn in the side to those who make flesh their arm and rely on priestcraft, and darkness to those who reject it and are now in the twilight zone of belief. This doctrine is not a new revelation. It is believed by over half the people in the world and is also plainly manifest in our scriptures as we shall show, yet this teaching is declared by some authorities to be the doctrine of the devil. Since the church authorities believe this to be the doctrine of the devil, they are likely to believe that I am from the devil. This is no new experience for a bearer of truth, for of Jesus the people (especially the leaders) thought that “He hath a devil and is mad so why hear ye him.” John 10:20. Others thought “he hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth out devils.” Mark 3:22. Many thought that John the Baptist was a wild man and that Jesus was a glutton and wine bibber. Some Jews thought the apostles were drunkards. Lehi’s’ family thought that he was a deluded dreamer. Others thought Lehi’s descendants Nephi and Lehi in the third book of Nephi were insane. In modern times the world has fulfilled Moroni’s promise to Joseph Smith that “his name should be had for good and evil among all nations.” Joseph Smith 2:33. Many who are in darkness believe that he was lead by the devil. It is a common thing that when a rock of truth is thrown into a stagnate pool – there are ripples of repulsion and those who are in self righteous apathy are awakened and forced to fight either for or against God.

The time is verily coming when “out of His (the Christ) mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations.” Rev 19:15. The sharp sword is truth or the word of God, and that word shall smite the hearts of the children of men among the nations, “and the guilty taketh the truth to be hard for it cutteth them to the very center.” I Nephi 16:2. On the other hand, the righteous receive “the Holy Ghost even the comforter which sheweth all things and teacheth the peaceable things of the kingdom. D&C 39:6.

The doctrine of reincarnation is indeed peaceable to the righteous. Unfortunately, it is a difficult doctrine for the average Mormon (and most other Christians) to accept, and because of this I must present it with the authority of the scriptures for only by seeing how it is taught in the standard works can the average Mormon come close to accepting it. If one were to merely explain the doctrine with no authority he would be burned at the stake as an apostate if the laws of the land would permit it. The official doctrine of the Church is that only the four standard works are to be accepted as doctrine. Since the prophets of various generations have disagreed with each other, even their statements are not binding doctrine unless voted on and accepted by the church as scripture. With this in view we shall prove this “strange doctrine” from that which is accepted: the scriptures.

Alma said “Ye ought to search the scriptures.” Alma 33:2. Notice that he did not say “read”, but search. People think that if they read them they are fulfilling the commandment, but on the other hand those who do fulfill the commandment and discover “mysteries” are seen by many as agents of deception. Many rise up and condemn and become as Satan “the accuser of our brethren”. Rev, 12:10.

Many insinuate that searching out mysteries is wrong. I boldly declare this to be a doctrine of the Adversary, of the carnal apathetic mind who does nothing until he is commanded and receiveth no reward. D&C 58:26-29. Are we to be condemned for being like Nephi: “also having great desires to know the mysteries of God.” I Nephi 2:16. Chose ye this day! Are you like Nephi or are you like the-Latter-Day Saints in his prophecy that “is at ease in Zion.” II Nephi 28:24. “Wo be unto him that shall say WE HAVE RECEIVED THE WORD OF GOD, and we need no more word of God, for we have enough!” II Nephi 28:29.

Members read this Book of Mormon scripture and think it’s talking about the non Mormons and forget that Nephi was talking to those who are “at ease in Zion,” and to those who “have received the word of God.” The LDS is the only major Christian church who has claimed to receive the word of God. “Wo unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men, for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.” Matt 23:13.

At a general conference I heard a general authority say that he did not know all there was to know about faith so why be bothered about the weightier doctrines until we learn the simple ones. Another said the reason the general authorities repeat the same things over and over is because the saints have not learned them yet. Now on the surface this sounds logical until you actually try and apply the principle in any kind of learning activity. I remember-when I enrolled in Algebra II I probably did not know one third of what was in my Algebra I book, but I struggled at it and pretty soon the new concepts fell into place and I was able to grasp the higher principles. I found I began to remember and understand teachings I had forgotten or did not clearly grasp before. If I had applied the above peculiar philosophy and learned everything first in Algebra I it would have spelled disaster because I would have become very bored with all the repetition and frustrated that I could not remember everything perfectly. Requiring perfect learning before more is given could keep a student in Algebra I until he dies, and this is what happens to the to the typical Latter-Day Saint. The Adversary laughs and his angels rejoice that members are kept in Mormon One until they die, for he knows that “it is impossible to be saved in ignorance. D&C 131:6 “A man is saved no faster than he gets knowledge, for if he does not get knowledge, he will be brought into captivity by some evil power in the other world.” TOTPJS Pg 217

“Behold, thus saith the Lord God: I will give unto the children of men line upon line, precept upon precept… II Nephi 30-31. “Precept MUST BE added upon precept.” Isaiah 28:10. Interestingly, even the world in its folly realizes that precept must be added upon precept. If the world is this wise – the why not the church?

Isaiah gives a good example: “Doth the plowman plow all day to sow? doth he not open and break the clods of his ground? When he hath made plain the face thereof, doth he not cast abroad the fitches, and scatter the cummin, and cast in the principal wheat and the appointed barley and the rie in their place?” Isa 28:24-25.

Isaiah’s admonition to ancient Israel is still applicable today. When we teach the same things over and over to the same person for his seventy-two years we are doing what Isaiah says even a plowman has the sense not to do. Does a plowman always plow??? No No No. When he is done he “casts in the principal wheat” and works toward the harvest.

The Church has, for several generations, been plowing the same field over and over, but the seed which is the word of God has not been sowed and the harvest which is the gathering of Israel (Lights) into a land of Zion (not to church meetings), or the coming “out of Babylon” Rev 18:4 has not been accomplished, nor is there any concrete steps taken to fulfill the commandment of the gathering for members are “at ease in Zion.” II Nephi 28:21.

Now I proceed to fulfill a commandment “that the time is verily come that it is necessary and expedient in me that you should open your mouths in proclaiming my gospel, the things of the kingdom, EXPOUNDING THE MYSTERIES THEREOF OUT OF THE SCRIPTURES according to that portion of the spirit and power which shall be given unto you.” D&C 71:1. If this means opposition, to fulfill this commandment, then one must drink the cup for men do not “light a candle and put it under a bushel.” Matt 5:15 Unto you who read this: “Ask that you may know the mysteries of God. D&C 8:11 “And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.” Moroni 10:5.

It is much more difficult for a Mormon, or standard Christian, to accept the doctrine of reincarnation than someone who has no religion at all simply because the mind of a member is not open to doctrine that has not been revealed. If any unusual doctrine is presented to the typical member he will reply “If that is true why hasn’t the prophet told us?” For some reason he assumes that no one could possibly know any truth unless the prophet proclaims it. He also assumes that the prophet knows everything there is to know. Many believe that he has daily walks with Jesus. Why so many assume such things when the prophet himself makes no such claim is a mystery in itself. Brigham Young clearly stated that those who make it to the celestial kingdom must not “pin their faith on another’s sleeve.” He said that we must go forward with the independence of heaven and do what is right even though the whole world take an opposite course. Joseph Smith once complained that the members minds were “darkened” because they relied on him for all their inspiration.

If we give the prophet the benefit of the doubt and take for granted that he has knowledge of the doctrine it is still quite possible that he would not reveal it as it would cause quite an upheaval in the church. Also, an important principle members often overlook is that the Lord only gives to those who “study it out in their minds” and then ask. I doubt if any of the general authorities have studied this out in their minds, seriously that is. Position does not give a person automatic access to the mind of God. Faith does. Joseph Smith was a non member not ordained to any priesthood when he had his first vision. The president of the church has to have as much faith to receive a revelation as you or I do. The only advantage he has over the lowest member is that the entire church will listen to him. If this is true, says one, why do you proclaim your doctrine? Where do you get your authority?

The answer is quite simple. I need no authority. I am not teaching any doctrine as “church doctrine” I am merely teaching it as truth. I am obeying the commandment given to all members: “And I give unto you a commandment that you shall teach one another the doctrine of the kingdom.” D&C 88:77 In Joseph Smith’s day the church was much more tolerant of individual expression. If a controversial doctrine was brought up it was presented before the High Council and the president thereof sought a revelation to clarify it. I do not expect any such consideration of these teachings. This treatise is not to the church, but to anyone in the world who seeks knowledge. If anyone has an ear let him hear. Who needs authority to present truth to the world? What authority had Edison? Einstein? Tesla? Bell? and others. They discovered truth and they were under a moral obligation to present it to the world or their talent would have been taken from them. I am a scientist like them. I discovered truth by experimentation and I present it. Like all revelators, the great scientists in the past have all met with great opposition when they presented their discoveries. These teachings will, of course, be opposed by those who do not believe as I do or cannot discern the light of the scriptures. It is no crime to disagree with someone, but when one takes a step to destroy his fellow man merely because he doesn’t like his doctrine, you may be assured he has lost the spirit “For it must needs be that offenses come; but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh!” Matt 18:7

When any new or unaccepted doctrine is introduced to a people it has to be presented and accepted by only a few at first, then to others as they can bear the light. This has been the case throughout history. When teaching, Jesus took his disciples aside and said: “It is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them (the general public) it is not given. 1I Matt 13:11. Jesus gave the apostles many teachings that were never written down, but passed down orally for many generations because the common believer was not ready for it. Yet many of the mysteries are not lost, but cleverly hidden in the scriptures. “It is the glory of God to conceal a thing.” Proverbs 25:2. The doctrines of the plurality of Gods as well as celestial marriage had to be taught secretly before they were openly released. This situation is not permanent however. The scriptures tell us of “A time to come in the which nothing shall be withheld…” D&C 121:28. The time is rapidly approaching when all “who remain, even from the least unto the greatest … shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord, and shall see eye to eye.” D&C 84:98. Man will have so much pure intelligence he will learn for himself and not need to establish teachers over him: “And they shall TEACH NO MORE every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying Know the Lord:: for they shall ALL know me…” Jer 31:34
Copyright 1996 by J J Dewey

Eternal Lives, Chapter 5

This entry is part 5 of 17 in the series Eternal Lives

One Death or Many?

Why do the present Mormon authorities teach that reincarnation is the doctrine of the Devil?

It all stems, as do many false doctrines, from an original misinterpretation, and each succeeding authority did not have a mind to contradict the preceding ones. It’s as Joseph Smith said in the King Follet discourse. If we start right we can go right all the time, but if we start amiss we will continue to error.

In November 1835 a man who went by the name of Joshua paid a visit to Joseph Smith. The man evidently had some truth for Joseph said he made some “excellent remarks”. However, Joseph Smith was suspicious of him and discovered that he was Robert Mathias of New York who had endured trials for “murder, man slaughter, contempt of court, whipping his daughter, etc.” Despite this Joseph entertained him for a few days and finally asked him to enlighten him “on his views respecting the resurrection.” Matthias made four statements 1. He was a literal descendant of Matthias, the apostle. 2. The spirit of Matthias was resurrected in him. 3. The scheme of eternal life was the transmigration of the spirit from father to son. 4. He was the spirit of truth itself and possessed the soul of Christ.

To this Joseph Smith said “I told him that his doctrine was of the devil, that he was in reality in possession of a wicked and depraved spirit.” Joseph pressed him to leave and upon his departing he said: “And so I, for once, cast out the devil in bodily shape, and I believe a murderer.” History of the Church Vol. 2; pages 304-307.

Let’s examine the four statements of Matthias and see if Joseph Smith was correct about him. The first statement is really the only one that may be true. It is possible (but very improbable) that he was a descendant of Matthias. Intellectually, we have no way of knowing the truth of this one.

It’s very unlikely that he possessed the spirit of Matthias, the Apostle, since he (Robert Matthias) himself was a murderer. Chances are very slim that one of the original twelve apostles would come back as a murderer and wife beater.

Number three is also false doctrine since the scheme of things is not to have one spirit passed down from father to son. One is often reincarnated in a body unrelated to a previous life.

Number four is also false doctrine as he certainly did not possess the soul of Christ neither was he the Spirit of Truth.

Interestingly we can believe in the true doctrine of reincarnation and yet say along with Joseph Smith that the man’s doctrine was of the adversary.

It is easy to misunderstand the statements of the prophets if we just have a portion of their thoughts. For instance Mormon called the baptism of infants “solemn mockery before God.”. If this was the only statement of the prophets we had concerning baptism then the natural man would automatically assume that all baptism is mockery and no one would be caught dead getting baptized. People take Joseph’s only statement dealing directly with reincarnation and apply it to the whole vast doctrine of eternal lives as the doctrine of the devil. We must remember that there is more to an elephant than a leg.

Just like many Christians misunderstand Mormonism many also misunderstand reincarnation. Some erroneously believe the doctrine teaches that one may be a rock or toad in the next life. This, of course, is not true and is completely out of harmony with any teaching on eternal progression. It is, however, a good tool to make a mockery out of a sacred belief: “Watch out! Don’t step on that ant. He may be your dead Uncle!!!” As a general rule a person enhances his form and becomes more like God in each incarnation, but if a person were to sin against the Holy Ghost he would suffer a terrible retrogression for a long period of time. As Brigham Young said he would go back to his native element and start his progression all over again. He said such a thing would take myriads of ages. See the Journal of discourses Vol. l; page l18, 213-214, 275; and Vol. 5; page 95. If one had to start his progression all over that would take at least one reincarnation right there.

With as many scriptures as there are to prove reincarnation both in the Bible and Latter-Day works, it’s amazing that many Christian religions don’t accept the doctrine. There are a few though, which on the surface, do seem to refute it. These few scriptures Christendom pounce on immediately, ignoring the rest. We shall pounce on them too and take away their punch.

The most common and powerful scripture against reincarnation is: “And as it is appointed unto men ONCE TO DIE, but after this the judgment.” Heb 9:27 The argument is, of course, that if man only dies once, then he could only be born once, thus there could be no reincarnation. You may think this scripture puts us in a corner, but it’s not nearly as bad of a fix as when a Jehovah’s Witness quotes to a Mormon missionary “God is a Spirit” John 4:24, or “no man hath seen God at any time.” John 1:18 About the only good explanation a Mormon can give is that they are mistranslations, but of course, to a Jehovah’s Witness – this is completely unacceptable.

Instead of just ignoring this scripture we shall examine it in the light of day. Just as many scriptures differ in meaning with the above quotes from John many seemingly contradict Hebrews. Paul said: “I die daily.” I Cor 15-31. Since we are told that men only die once we must ask ourselves what kind of death he is talking about in both scriptures? Also, we must take into consideration that the people he was writing to in Hebrews had little if any knowledge of Eternal Lives and they assumed that men lived and died only once. Thus the writer used this phrase to show to them the sacrifice of Christ in language they could understand. The scripture’s surface meaning meant just what it said, but it also had a second hidden meaning, as do most of the doctrinal scriptures as Jesus explained with his parables. (Matt 13:11

The key to the hidden meaning is the phrase: “But after this the judgment.” Also important is that death is appointed unto “men” (plural) or the human race as a whole.

We see that when this one death is over there is “the judgment.” But does the judgment come after the regular physical death? No ! The judgment comes at the “last Day” Then all men shall be judged of their works.”. II Nephi 9:44 The reason the last day is called such is because it is the last day of man’s spiritual death, and after this is the judgment.

“And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and Hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” Rev 20:12-15.

Let us examine the meaning for further light: “And the sea gave up the dead which were in it.” What is the sea? The scripture explains: “The waters (the sea) which thou sawest where the whore sitteth are the peoples, and multitudes, and nations and tongues.” Rev 17:15. We are told that “Death (Physical death II Nephi 9:11) and Hell (the spiritually dead in hell. II Nephi 9:12) delivered up the dead which were in them.” Thus we see that on the last day ALL the spiritually dead including those still living on the earth (The sea) and all the Spirit world (Death and Hell) will be judged, and those who cannot abide the judgment must suffer a “second death” and be cast into the lake of fire (or another round of numerous lives of sorrow).

Exactly what is the second death? Mormons have a vague idea of the truth when they say it is being cut off from the presence of God a second time, but how does this happen? The scripture explains: “therefore, I, the Lord God, caused that he should be cast out from the Garden of Eden, from my presence, because of his transgression, wherein he became spiritually dead, which is the FIRST DEATH, EVEN THE SAME DEATH WHICH IS THE LAST DEATH, which is spiritual, which shall be pronounced on the wicked when I shall say: Depart ye cursed.” D&C 29:41

What was the first death??? It was being cut off from the presence of God and being placed in a state of probation in a MORTAL STATE subject to death and disease and this is “that same death which is the last death” (second death). Therefore those who suffer the second death will be (1) Cut off from the presence of God and (2) suffer disease and PHYSICAL DEATH all over again. There is no other way the second death could be the same as the first death as the scripture says..

Those who do not suffer the second death: “The same shall overcome and shall receive an inheritance UPON THE EARTH when the day of transfiguration shall come.” D&C 63:20 When the Earth is transfigured it will be quickened to abide the terrestrial glory and all the telestial stars and planets we see about us will disappear and there will be “a new heaven and a new earth”. Those spirits who cannot abide the transfiguration must go to another planet in the telestial kingdom or “must abide a kingdom which is not a kingdom of glory.” D&C 88:24. These Sons of Perdition with no glory will be sent to a kingdom of darkness where they will return to their original intelligence to start their progression all over again.

Now we complete the hidden meaning of the scripture in debate if you can receive it: “And as it is appointed unto (the race of) men once (on this earth) to die (spiritual death), but after this the judgment (and transfiguration).

As we said, many scriptures have more than one interpretation. Now let us take a second view of Hebrews 9:27

Let’s refresh our memory and quote it one more time: “And as it is appointed unto man once to die, but after this the judgement.”

The “once to die” sounds like an absolute statement not open to debate until we realize that it is boldly contradicted by the scriptures themselves: “Broad is the gate, and wide the way that leadeth to THE DEATHS…” D&C 132:25

We have also talked about a “second death,” so obviously in the big picture the “once to die” statement is not literal.

After we are told that man only dies once the scripture says “BUT after this the judgement.” The word “but” comes from the Greek ALLA which literally means “contrariwise.” In other words, it indicates that the information that is forthcoming may contradict that which has just been said.

That would mean that “after this the judgement” may have an opposite meaning to “it is appointed unto men once to die”. It would indicate an exception as in the sentence: “I rise every morning at 8:00 A.M., except when the alarm does not go off.”

We shall see that when we examine the Greek word for “judgement” that the second half of the sentence does indeed contradict the first.

The word “judgement” here comes from the Greek word KRISIS. This is one of the most misunderstood words in the entire Bible. Translators don’t quite seem to know how to handle it and have rendered it according to their bias rather than the actual meaning. In the King James version it is translated as: accusation, condemnation, damnation, and judgement, but none of these portrays the word accurately.

The modern English word “crisis” (which is derived from the Greek word KRISIS) is a more accurate rendering than the Bible translations. The actual Greek word implies a decision that brings correction. It is hard to give the meaning of this word with one English word, but the word “correction” would probably be the closest.

The best scripture to help us understand the KRISIS is from John 5:28-29: “The hour is coming in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation (KRISIS).”

Here Jesus divides all resurrections into two categories. The first he calls the “resurrection of life” and the second “the resurrection of damnation”. “Damnation” is a mistranslation. The Greek KRISIS is more correctly rendered “correction” or “judgement that forces correction” and generally refers to a lesser resurrection.

Taking this into consideration let us retranslate Hebrews 9:27: “And as it is appointed unto mankind once to be dying, but on the other hand, after this comes (the resurrection of) correction.”

Another stumbling block to a Mormon accepting reincarnation is the doctrine of the resurrection. This, of course, is not peculiar to the Mormon faith as many Christians have various beliefs on the resurrection which does not coincide with reincarnation. We find, though, that when we examine the standard works, we, on the other hand, have difficulty in justifying the normal doctrine of resurrection with them.

The scripture creating the main problem states that after the resurrection “neither can they die any more.” Luke 20:36. In examining this scripture let us first state that we recognize that there are three degrees of glory after the resurrection; yet the scriptures point out there are two types of resurrections and one must recognize this to determine what the prophets were talking about. The official doctrine is that “in Christ shall ALL be made alive.” I Cor 15:22. This is interpreted to mean that all men will be resurrected. Two resurrections are pointed out by John: “All that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation (KRISIS).

Let us examine first the resurrection of life. This is the resurrection Paul talked about when he said “this mortal must put on immortality”. I Cor. 15:53 This way we can eventually be like Him “Who only hath immortality” I Tim 6:16. Even though it is written that at the resurrection of Jesus “many of the bodies of the Saints which slept arose” Matt 27:52 only Jesus possessed immortality.

A point realized by few is that the immortal resurrection is not a free gift to all and must be obtained through great effort. Paul says that he was not advanced enough to yet obtain it: “That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might ATTAIN (Greek KATANTAO Means struggle to arrive at) unto the resurrection of the dead. Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but follow after.” Phil 3:10-12 If Paul was not yet perfected enough to receive an immortal resurrection like Jesus how can we expect it with one imperfect life?

Jesus also pointed out that there was a resurrection given to not just anyone: “But they which shall be ACCOUNTED WORTHY to obtain that world, AND THE RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD, neither marry nor are given in marriage: neither can they die any more…” Luke 20:35-36 Clearly one must be accounted worthy to obtain this resurrection of life. One must be an even better man than Paul. Finally, Joseph Smith offers a statement that is impossible to misunderstand: “You have to learn how to be Gods yourselves, and be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have done before you, namely by going from one small degree to another, and from a small capacity to a great one: from grace to grace FROM EXALTATION TO EXALTATION until you ATTAIN THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD.” History of the Church; Vol. 6 Pg. 306

Where is there room for error??? Prophets both ancient and modern tell us that the immortal resurrection must be ATTAINED. We must be exalted and then exalted again before we can attain it. What! Says one. How can one be exalted without an immortal resurrection In the same sermon Joseph Smith said that “Those who have died in the faith are NOW in the Celestial Kingdom of God.” History of the Church Vol. 6, Pg. 315. Here he was referring to the recently dead who had not obtained any physical resurrection. This certainly is a different idea than that of going to the spirit world to wait a resurrection to the celestial kingdom as taught in the missionary discussions. The scriptures teach the same doctrine: “There are two kinds of beings in heaven (the celestial glory), namely: angels who are resurrected personages, having bodies of flesh and bones Secondly: the spirits of just men made perfect, they who are not resurrected, but inherit the same glory.” D&C 129:1&3

So far we have come to some interesting conclusions: (1) There is both a mortal and immortal resurrection. (2) One may be exalted in the celestial kingdom BEFORE reaching the immortal resurrection.

Now we proceed to unfold a mystery dreamed of by few. The word of the Lord is “That same sociality which exists among us here will exist among us there” (in the celestial kingdom). D&C 130:2 On the other hand, we are told that both spirits and resurrected personages dwell there. This fact causes one to question as to how this same sociality which exists here can exist there between a spirit and a personage of flesh and bones? How would they even shake hands? It would seem like it would be an extremely inconvenient way to live, but to understand the reality of eternal lives, one must understand how this same sociality does exist.

The prophet said: “There is no such thing as immaterial matter. ALL SPIRIT IS MATTER, but it is more fine or pure, and can only be discerned by purer eyes: We cannot see it; but when our bodies are purified we shall see that it is all matter.” D&C 131:7-8 We see here that spirits were made of matter and bodies are also made of matter. What is the difference between the two? Basically very little for the Lord said that “man is Spirit” D&C 93:33. Paul said that the physical body is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body.” I Cor 15-44 “The last Adam (Christ) was made a quickening spirit.” Verse 45 Modern revelation agrees with this: “For notwithstanding they die, they also shall rise again, A SPIRITUAL BODY.” D&C 88:27. Most do not think of a resurrected body of flesh and bones as a spiritual body, but it is obvious that a resurrected personage can change the state of the matter of his body from spirit to physical and reverse at will, When Jesus appeared to the disciples after his resurrection he passed his body through the wall and after let the apostles touch him. Luke 24:36-42. Just as man through his knowledge can make water into ice and ice, water Jesus made his body vibrate to a higher vibration and it became spirit while he was going through the wall. Afterwards he lowered the vibration and it became solid so the disciples could touch him and he could eat flesh with them. Thus in the celestial kingdom the spirits of the just men made perfect and the resurrected personages vibrate on the same wave causing them both to have spiritual bodies and having sociality between one another.

One thing few people stop and ask themselves is: What is the real purpose of a body? The answer we receive is, of course, to become like God, but that is no answer, for we are still left wondering why God needs a body. The answer is quite simple. Our bodies, both spiritual and physical are merely vehicles of conscious thought. On the earth when one wants to go under the sea he uses a submarine to extend his consciousness in that area and that is the only way he can do it. If one wants to travel sixty miles an hour on the land he must use a car. If he wants to go in the air he will use an airplane. The same is true of a celestial being. If he wants to descend into physical matter he must create for himself a physical body by lowering the rate of his vibrations. If he wants to go to the celestial kingdom his body must be “quickened” or increased in vibrational rate so he can have a suitable vehicle to ascend. One does not use a submarine while flying and one does not use a physical body in the celestial kingdom; instead the scriptures plainly tell us we use a “spiritual body.” Keeping in mind that bodies are vehicles of consciousness, bodies are useful only to the extent that they can carry and expand our intelligence to the infinite kingdoms of God.

It is true that after a celestial resurrection a person cannot die anymore as the scriptures say, but this must be clarified, for in describing the leg of an elephant it is difficult to give the correct impression of the entire body. It is true that a celestial body cannot die a physical death since it is spiritual and “it dieth no more”; nevertheless “with God ALL things are possible” Matt 10:27. A celestial being by using his free will can again become physical and subject to death again. Brigham Young taught this doctrine quite clearly; even though the church through lack of understanding is somewhat embarrassed to admit it. He stated that: “When Father Adam came into the garden of Eden, he came into it with a CELESTIAL BODY.” Journal of Discourses Vol. 1; Pg. 50. Brigham quoted Adam as saying: “I once dwelt UPON AN EARTH something like this, IN A MORTAL STATE, I was faithful, I received my crown and exaltation. I have the privilege of extending My work, and to its increase there shall be no end.” (From an address given June 8, 1873 in the tabernacle. Reported in the DESERET NEWS June 18, 1873; pg. 308; Column 5.)

Concerning those who go to the celestial kingdom it is written:

“Wherefore, all things are theirs, whether life OR DEATH, or things present, or things to come, all are theirs and they are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.” D&C 76:59

“And they shall overcome all things.” D&C 76:60

These celestial beings we are told can choose “life or death” and they “shall” overcome all things indicating that a choice of death may be a necessary part of their eternal progression.
Copyright 1996 by J J Dewey

Eternal Lives, Chapter 6

This entry is part 6 of 17 in the series Eternal Lives

Immortal Bodies

“A man may act as proxy for his own relatives; the ordinances of the Gospel which were laid out before the foundations of the world have thus been fulfilled by them, and we may be baptized for those whom we have much friendship for; but IT MUST FIRST BE REVEALED TO THE MAN OF GOD, LEST WE SHOULD RUN TOO FAR.” History of the Church, Vol.6, Ch.17, p.366

As we put the pieces of Mormon Doctrine together the picture becomes clear: Adam was once a faithful mortal on another planet. He was faithful and was resurrected and went to the celestial kingdom. Then, after ages of additional progression, with the help of “morning stars” he organized this earth and came down here with his celestial body and eventually made it physical and mortal again to create a physical seed for himself. That’s two lives for Adam right there. How can one deny it? One may say that Brigham Young did not know what he was talking about, but if one claims superior revelation to Brigham where are his works and words to show evidence of this intelligence? Art thou greater than Brigham or Joseph who taught Brigham?

Interestingly, a celestial spirit can also slow his vibrations to create a physical body. Church authorities generally believe that Jesus Christ was once Jehovah and that he lived as a spirit only before his birth, but on the contrary we find the Jehovah and two associates appeared to Abraham in PHYSICAL BODIES: “And the Lord (Lord is from the Hebrew YAHOVAH which means Jehovah) appeared to him (Abraham) in the plains of Mamres and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day; And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, THREE MEN stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground, and said My Lord (This Lord is from the Hebrew ADONAY meaning master), if now I have found favor in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant: Let a little water, I pray you, be fetched, and WASH YOUR FEET, and REST yourselves under the tree: And I will fetch a MORSEL OF BREAD, and comfort ye your hearts; after that ye shall pass on: for therefore are ye come to your servant. And they said, SO DO, AS THOU HAST SAID. And Abraham hastened into the tent unto Sarah, and said, Make ready quickly THREE measures of fine meal, knead it, and make cakes upon the hearth. And Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetched a calf tender and good, and gave it unto a young man; and he hastened to dress it… And he took butter and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and he stood by them under the tree, AND THEY DID EAT… And the MEN rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom: and Abraham went with them to bring them on the way. And the Lord (Again YeHOVAH translated Jehovah) said shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do?… And the men (two of them) turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the Lord”(YeHOVAH) Gen 18:1-8; 16-17, & 22. Then after the two men went to Sodom Abraham made his famous bargain with Jehovah to save the two cities, then we are told: “And the Lord (YeHOVAH) went his way…” Verse 33

In the next chapter we are told: “And there came two angels to Sodom at even..,”’ Gen. 19:1 Lot met them and offered them his house to sleep in and suggested they wash their feet and he made a feast also “and they did eat”. Verse 3. “But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round about, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: and they called unto Lot and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? Bring them out unto us, that we may know (have sex with) them.” verses 4-5 Later, as they were about to burst the door down to get the two men and Lot was trying to hold them back “the men (the two angels) put forth their hand, AND PULLED LOT INTO THE HOUSE to them, and shut the door,” verse 10.

Who can doubt that all three of three heavenly beings had physical bodies! They rested, they ate, they washed their feet, they slept, their bodies were seen by both the righteous and the wicked with no apparent glory. Lastly, their bodies were able to make physical contact with mortal men. The two angels “pulled Lot into the house.”

How were these non mortal men able to produce their physical bodies when there was no resurrection yet? Perhaps they were translated you say? That would really throw our doctrine for a loop if Jehovah was merely translated. Most would rule that out. Joseph Smith told us how to recognized resurrected angels from heaven. He said: “offer him your hand and request him to shake hands with you. If he be an ANGEL he will do so, and you will feel his hand. D & C 129:4-5. This is how we tell the messenger is not a spirit, but an resurrected Angel according to Joseph. (Read the whole section). How is it that Jehovah fits Joseph Smith’s description of a resurrected angel?

From this we can at least gather that Jehovah was able to produce a physical body before any recorded birth on the earth. This is also indicated in the Book of Mormon. When Jesus appeared to the brother of Jared he said: “Behold, this body which ye now behold is the body of my spirit; and man have I created after the body of my spirit; and EVEN AS I APPEAR UNTO THEE TO BE IN THE SPIRIT WILL I APPEAR TO MY PEOPLE IN THE FLESH.” Ether 3:l6. Even though Jesus had a celestial body, the faith of the Brother of Jared was so great that the vibrations of that celestial body were lowered so it actually became physical. The Brother of Jared actually saw Christ in a physical body for he saw him even as he would appear in the flesh. That the body was physical to the Brother of Jared is also indicated by his statement: “I knew not that the Lord had flesh and blood.” Ether 3:8

Jacob also wrestled with and angel who he later called “God” indicating it was Jehovah. Interestingly, Jacob actually got the best of him. Whoever this personage was, Jacob certainly touched him to prove that he had a physical body and even got his thigh out of joint. See Gen. 32:24-30. According to D&C 129 this person would have been resurrected. For resurrected persons capable of physical manifestation are often called angels as contrasted to beings of spirit only. This is especially indicated in: “IF HE BE AN ANGEL he will do so, and you shall feel his hand. If he be the spirit of a just man made perfect he will come in his glory; for that is the only way he can appear.” These persons spoken of above did not appear in glory so they must have been “Angels, who are resurrected personages, having bodies of flesh and bones.” D&C 129:1

These facts bring up questions that just cannot be answered by orthodox doctrine. What was Jehovah doing producing a physical body when we are told a spirit from God can only appear in Glory? Did Christ have some resurrection or translation before he was born to Mary? If not, how did he or some other being appear to Abraham in a physical body??? Again the doctrine of reincarnation supplies the answers. If Adam experienced mortality on another world previous to his coming here then surely Christ, being up there with Adam, also had much experience, and had also experienced mortality on other worlds to prepare him to be the master of this one. Someday, you and I will do what Adam and Jesus did when we experience our “eternal lives in the eternal worlds.” Is it not glorious to contemplate eternal life you can understand?

Another LDS stumbling block to accepting the doctrine of reincarnation is the doctrine of salvation for the dead and eternal marriage, The question arises as to why should one be baptized for the dead if he is going to come back into mortality in the future and continue to work out his salvation?

First let us point out that some scriptures used to support baptism for the dead are misunderstood. When Moroni appeared to Joseph Smith he quoted Malachi 4:5-6 a little differently than it reads in the Bible: “Behold, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord. And he shall plant in the hearts of the children THE PROMISES MADE TO THE FATHERS, and the hearts of the children shall turn to their fathers. If it were not so, the whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming.” D&C 2:1-3

Has anyone stopped to ask, after reading this scriptures, what are the promises made to the Fathers? If I did not stop now and then to ponder and question what I read I would not be writing this and would yet be “at ease in Zion”. But to continue, there are, of course, a number of important promises made to our fathers, but there is one promise which is written about more than any other, and that is the gathering of Israel (the gathering of Lights).

Many today are not aware of the significance of the gathering and think that members are accomplishing it when they merely convert people to the church so they can gather each Sunday. But that’s not gathering any more than the sectarians. If Joseph Smith were to speak to you today, he would say the LDS have become sectarians. Joseph Smith began the gathering of Israel and Brigham Young and others tried to continue it so the saints could “come out of Babylon.” If the early leaders were here today they would call to mind the parable of the wheat and the tares and behold the good seed is being strangled by the tares and declare : “An enemy hath done this.” Matt 13:28.

The original gathering as outlined by the earlier prophets failed and now it has to be done all over again. We must gather upon “a land of promise, a land flowing with milk and honey, upon which there shall be no curse when the Lord cometh.” D&C 38:18 Is Utah such a land? Verily, no. There are as many curses in Utah as any typical U.S. state. Utah residents are in “the midst of wickedness, which is spiritual Babylon” D&C 133:14

Many times in the scriptures the saints are commanded to come out of spiritual Babylon. “O ye house of Israel whom I have spared, how oft will I gather you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, if ye will repent and return unto me with full purpose of heart. but if not, O house of Israel, the places of your dwellings shall become desolate until the time of the fulfilling of the covenant to your fathers.” III Nephi 10:6-7.

The LDS think they will be safe if they have their year’s supply of food and yet remain in spiritual Babylon – they are at ease in Zion. But if a calamity should occur none will be spared peril who remain in Babylon, years supply or not. When a hundred hungry men with clubs and sticks come at your door for food where will be your salvation then? The gathering is “for a defense, and for a refuge from the storm, and from wrath when it shall be poured out without mixture upon the whole earth.” D&C 115:6 The gathering failed as it had in other dispensations, the storm was delayed, but now it must be done all over again. This time we will succeed. The Lord knew that the gathering started by Joseph Smith and Brigham Young would not be permanent; nevertheless, much good has been accomplished, and the way has been prepared for a future gathering in the fullness of the glory of the Father.

The church today teaches that baptism for the dead must be done for all people clear back to Adam, but such a teaching is contrary to the scriptures and a very clear teaching by Joseph Smith who stated:

“A man may act as proxy for his own relatives; the ordinances of the Gospel which were laid out before the foundations of the world have thus been fulfilled by them, and we may be baptized for those whom we have much friendship for; but IT MUST FIRST BE REVEALED TO THE MAN OF GOD, LEST WE SHOULD RUN TOO FAR.” History of the Church, Vol.6, Ch.17, p.366

Now this is not a quote from Joseph that you will hear soon in General Conference.

He said the following which is at odds with current Mormon Doctrine:

(1) Baptism for the dead is for those with whom we have “much friendship for.”

(2) We “must” have revelation as to whom we must be baptized.

(3) If we do not follow these guidelines we will go “too far.”

The too far is most probably the “endless genealogies” (I Tim 1:4) that Paul told us to avoid.

Unfortunately the LDS church has drifted far from these guidelines and have strayed into endless genealogies which have nothing to do with friendship or revelation.

Concerning the dead, Joseph Smith said: “Without us, the dead could not be made perfect, nor we without them.” History of the Church Vol. 6; Pg 252. Why do we need the dead for our salvation? Joseph answered: “We must have revelation from them.” (See same page) What kind of revelation will the dead give us? They will not only give us assistance on genealogy when needed, but they will aid us in the gathering, for they are very concerned that it is successful so Zion can be established and they can come forth in their next incarnation (the first resurrection) at the beginning of the millennium of peace. The dead want a peaceful world available when they have to come back here.

Another interesting point is that baptism in the temples is not only for the dead, but in the early church members were to also baptize those who were sick to effect a healing

There is really no conflict between the doctrine of reincarnation and baptism for the dead. Each life a person lives he accumulates guilt for certain sins that must either be atoned for or he must suffer for them in a future life. It was never intended that we should baptize the dead clear back to Adam, but the ordinance was mainly for friends and relatives who accepted the basic principles of the gospel and were honorable people. Joseph Smith said: “Every man who has a friend in the eternal world can save him, unless he has committed the unpardonable sin.” History of the Church Vol. 6 pg. 313. Thus the ordinance was instituted so we could help lift the burden of guilt from those who we love. Contrary to popular belief all do not need the physical act of baptism. All do need, however, that spiritual baptism of having their sins (guilt) washed away. Mormon helps us out here: “For behold all little children are alive in Christ, and also ALL THEY THAT ARE WITHOUT THE LAW (the non Christian nations: see D&C 45:54) For the power of redemption cometh on all them that have no law; wherefore, he that is not condemned, or that is under no condemnation, cannot repent; and unto such BAPTISM AVAILETH NOTHING.” Moroni 8:22.

Baptism will only help those who are subject to the laws of the gospel. Why baptize then for the dead who are not under the law when it “availeth nothing???” If we had enough faith we would have revealed to us the dead who are to be baptized, and such a baptism would be a great help to him in washing away guilt caused by the law, and thus releasing a burden he may have on the other side of the veil. He could then be born to the holy parents who shall bring again Zion, for such parents will truly “seek a Godly seed”. Malachi 2:15.

If a Godly seed is not produced and a gathering is not effected – that is that we “should gather together, and stand in holy places” D&C 101:22, then there will not be a people prepared to meet the Lord when he comes and the “whole earth would be utterly wasted at his coming.” D&C 2:3

Joseph Smith pointed out that the people at the time of John the Baptist and Jesus were rejected with their dead and if we are not faithful we will be rejected with our dead. This indicates that our generation is not responsible for saving the dead of a past age. This is clearly pointed out in the scriptures: “But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies…” Titus 3-9 “Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies…” I Tim 1:4 “We are just responsible for “OUR” dead; not for endless genealogies. Let me repeat: baptism for the dead is to help “our dead”.

Once you go back more than 200 years the person has often taken another body here in the physical plane. Sometimes, however, a person may be caught in a world of illusion for many centuries, but generally a few generations is about all that can do any good. Do you think that God is going to keep one person in prison for five thousand years and another equally righteous for only a few years and have the former’s long fate sealed merely because he had the misfortune of being born earlier than your Grandmother? Why should your grandmother only have to wait two years for salvation and someone else thousands?

Then, too, baptism for the dead is only effective for those that repent and “if they would not repent they must suffer EVEN AS I.” D&C 19:17 How can the dead “suffer both BODY and spirit” D&C 19:18 with no body??? Joseph Smith said that baptism for the dead is for those who would have received the gospel if it had been presented to them, and that even they would be judged according to the deeds done in the body.

This helps us to understand the words of Alma: “Do not procrastinate the day of your repentance until the end; for after this day of life, which is given us to prepare for eternity (the kingdoms of the spirit), behold, if we do not improve our time while in this life, then cometh the hour of darkness wherein there can be NO LABOR PERFORMED…for that same spirit which doth possess your bodies at the time that ye go out of this life, that same spirit will have power to possess your body in that eternal (spirit) world.” Alma 34:33-34

When Alma said that ‘“there can be no labor performed,” he was not teaching contrary to the doctrine of salvation for the dead as the anti-Mormons teach, but he was pointing out as did Joseph that we are judged by the deeds in the body and not out. There can be very little if any repentance in the spirit world for we are possessed by the same spirit as was in the earthly body. Bodily sins can only be paid for in the body. Between lives “there can be no labor performed” and the spirit must wait for another incarnation after the finish of his “rest” and then he can labor again: “And his works shall follow him, and also a reward in the world to come.” (the next incarnation) D&C 63:48.
Copyright 1996 by J J Dewey

Eternal Lives, Chapter 7

This entry is part 7 of 17 in the series Eternal Lives

Eternal Marriage

One may ask: Why be sealed for eternity if there is reincarnation and we will come back again anyway? What one often forgets is that we are living in eternity now as Joseph Smith indicated: “The past, the present, and the future were and are with Him (God) one eternal Now”’. History of the Church Vol. 4 Pg. 597.

Let’s examine carefully what is written on the sealing powers to see what is unfolded. We are told that those who are sealed according to the New and Everlasting covenant “shall come forth in the first resurrection; and if it be after the first resurrection the next resurrection (A future life or incarnation) and shall inherit thrones, kingdoms, principalities, all heights and depths – “ D&C 132:19 Then we are told that as long as they do not shed innocent blood they will come forth and be Gods sometime in the future. We are told that “All things are theirs whether LIFE OR DEATH.” D&C 76:59 It is interesting indeed that a celestial being can choose life or death. In other words he can choose a continuation of life in the celestial world or sacrifice and take an incarnation in the lower worlds where he will be subject to death. Many of the prophets in history as well as other great men were celestial spirits who volunteered to come here to help the race of men. They chose “death” for a season that they might have more power to serve.

To understand the sealing more fully one must understand what the scriptures mean when they speak of everlasting or eternal life. One should understand that when God gave us the modern scriptures they were written “after the manner of their language, that they might come to understanding.” D&C 1:24 Since Joseph Smith was unaware of all mistranslations in the Bible they also carried over into some of his revelations. For instance the word for the Lord “Jehovah” is universally agreed to be a mistranslation. The English word was invented by the Catholic church many centuries ago. Most believe the word was at one time pronounced “Yahweh”. Even the word “Jesus” is not correct today. In the Greek it was pronounced “Yaesu”. But God did not bother with trivialities and let the revelations come forth in a language that Joseph and his followers were familiar with. If he did not do this much difficulty would have been created, and the missionaries would have spent all their time arguing over the meaning of words instead of teaching revealed truths. There were certain disadvantages, however, especially caused by the words “eternal” and “everlasting”. For the true meaning of these words we must examine the original language of the Bible from whence they came.

Contrary to popular belief, neither everlasting or eternal life means to live forever just as eternal damnation doesn’t mean that one will be damned forever: “Nevertheless, it is not written there shall be no end to this torment, but it is written endless torment. Again it is written eternal damnation.” D&C 19:6-7 And why did the Lord allow it to be written this way: “Wherefore it is more express than other scriptures, THAT IT MIGHT WORK UPON THE HEARTS OF THE CHILDREN OF MEN altogether for my name’s glory.” Verse 7.

Yes, in the past, and for many in the present the Lord has allowed a misunderstanding of his words to work upon our hearts for our good, but the truly honest in heart are always the most highly motivated by that which is truest.

Much of the confusion comes from the Greek word AION and a comparable word AIONIOS. These words are translated as “eternal,” “forever,” “everlasting,” “world,” “age” and “course” in the King James Version. One does not have to look hard to see that “age” and “course” certainly have a different meaning than “eternal” or “forever”. What is the true meaning of these Greek words? It can be clearly shown from the scriptures that the meaning is not “forever:” The disciples said “Tell us when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the END of the world”(Greek: AION) Matt 24:3 “I am with you alway, even to the END of the world” AION) Matt 28:20. Here the translators did not dare translate AION as everlasting, eternal, or forever. We know that Jesus is not coming at the end of forever. It can also be shown that AION has a beginning: “As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since THE WORLD (AION) BEGAN” Luke 1:70; “Since the World (AION) began…” John 9:32; Also Acts 3:21. Here we easily establish that AION has both a beginning and an end, It’s most correct translation is an “age” which age has both a beginning and an end. Sometimes it is used in the same context that we use the word “dispensation” today. However, it sometimes refers to numerous dispensations. One has to read the context.

The Greek AIONIOS is derived from AION and means approximately the same except the word implies a quality not found in AION. The word “eternal” in eternal life is generally translated from this word. For instance this is eternal (AIONIOS) life, that they might know thee…” John 17:3 This implies that one will have a high quality of life that will last for an “age” if one comes to know God and Christ. We find the same implication in other scriptures: “Whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting (AIONIOS) life.” John 3:16 AION and AIONIOS were not meant to imply deathlessness or immortality. The word meaning such is ATHANASIA and is only used three times in the whole Bible. The three references are: I Cor 15:53 & 54; and I Tim 6:16.

Joseph Smith’s teachings were in harmony with the above. He said over and over that if a thing has a beginning it must have an end and if something did not have a beginning then it will have no end. There is no such thing as a beginning with no end. See History of the Church Vol. 6; pg 311

This was one of the most important statements Joseph ever made, as much truth can be derived from it. For instance, if there is a beginning to a punishment, then there must be an end. On the other hand, if there is a beginning to a reward there must also be an end. If there is a beginning to our entering into the telestial, terrestrial, or celestial kingdom, then eventually there must be an end. If there is a beginning to us being a God there will be an end. If there is a beginning to a marriage there will also be an end.

When we apply this principle to various cherished doctrines, it may fill the breast of a devotee with horror. For instance if there is a beginning to having a body there will be an end. Yet Joseph Smith clearly stated that “which has a beginning as God lives will have an end.” Some of these applications almost makes one declare that Joseph Smith must have been mistaken in this point. But I believe the doctrine not only because Joseph said it, but because of its simple logic. He is mathematically correct.

If Joseph Smith was right then what is the real meaning of eternal marriage? Does it have an end?

First, if we use the Greek word AIONIOS for eternal or eternity, then eternal marriage would imply a high quality marriage lasting for an age. Thus one may be married in this world and the world to come, but keep in mind that there’s worlds to come after ‘“the world to come.” How long your eternal marriage will last is according to your free agency. If after ten million years you decide to go separate ways who is there to take away your agency??? If, after you become a God, you decide to step down and no longer be a God for a while who is there to take away your agency? Remember “All things are theirs whether life or death.” D&C 76:59

To find out if there really is an end to marriage we must merely ask if there ever was a beginning. We may be assured that the principle of marriage is without beginning and is ever present in nature clear down to the atom where we have a marriage of positive and negative forces creating something greater than themselves through their cooperation. Joseph Smith said that baptism was a symbol and it’s quite evident that marriage is also. Marriage merely symbolizes a union of souls or should I say a reunion for “Man was also in the beginning with God…” D&C 93:29 “The mind or the intelligence which man possesses is co-equal with God himself. I know my testimony is true.” History of the Church Vol. 6: Pg 310. When humanity were co-equal in the beginning there was a union of souls which was from eternity which union, or eternal marriage, we are again attempting to establish through the “New and everlasting covenant”. This is in fulfillment of the commandment: ‘“that they may be one as we are.” John 17-11. Thus since the oneness of Intelligences never had a beginning the time will never come when they will have an end; nevertheless there is always an ebb and flow in all things. At this point one feels to exclaim: “The mystery of Godliness, how great it is!” D&C 19:10 Eternal marriage is symbolic of the eternal union all Intelligences will eventually have,

The new and everlasting covenant is also a binding force that brings individuals together in the celestial kingdom as well as guarantees that you will meet in future lives. Now we not only want to meet our mates in future lives, but also our friends. This is why sealings were also done for individuals who were faithful and friends. Men were sealed to men as well as women. See Journal of discourses Vol. 9 page 269. Also Manuscript History of Brigham Young Jan. 16, 1847

This practice of sealing men to men and even groups was discontinued evidently through lack of understanding. Joseph Smith told a group of saints: “He (God) has given you all to me and commanded me to seal you up to everlasting life.” Autobiography of Mary E. Rollins Lightner Ms. Joseph also said: that “dominion and power in the great future would be commensurate with the number of wives, children and friends that we inherit (are sealed to) here, and that our mission to the earth was to organize a nucleus of Heaven, to take with us, the increase of which there would be no end.” From MY LIFE’S REVIEW by Benjamin F. Johnson. Zion’s Printing and publishing Co.; Independence, Mo. Page 10.

It is evident that Joseph was married in his past lives. Mary Elizabeth Rollins said: “Joseph said I was his before I came here and he said all the Devils in hell should never get me from him.” From JOSEPH SMITH, THE FIRST MORMON by Donna Hill. Page 351. Joseph Lee Robinson also gave an insight into Joseph’s past lives: “God revealed to him that any man that ever committed adultery in either of his probations (lives) that man could never be raised to the highest exaltation in the celestial glory.” Donna Hill Page 344. Since we are “judged according to the deeds which have been done in the MORTAL BODY.” (Alma 5:15) this other probation could not refer to a previous spirit life, but only a previous mortal life.

Of course, any sealing ceremony has no effect without love for we are told that “Charity (the pure love of Christ) never faileth.” I Cor 13:8. Love is the true sealing power whereas the ordinance is merely a symbol. If one is under the law he must go through the ordinance, but if he is not then the power of love itself will create a binding force so those two individuals will meet in future lives. Interestingly hate also seals two individuals to each other so they will meet again and work out their differences. The power of love was expressed by Paul: “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of god which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Rom. 8:38-39

The main advantage of the sealing powers of the Priesthood is that it seals a commitment to meet again and once registered in two souls the future union is assured. The future of those eternally progressing will be eventually to be as Gods to evolving human lives on other worlds. This, of course, is just the beginning. There are worlds and concepts above ours that we can comprehend no more than a slug can comprehend us, but someday, in our future eternal lives and endless expansion of our consciousness, we will comprehend.
Copyright 1996 by J J Dewey

Eternal Lives, Chapter 8

This entry is part 8 of 17 in the series Eternal Lives


An important word used in the religions of the East and not generally found in Christendom is “karma”. The word serves a very real purpose for all people and about the closest a Christian comes to sensing karma is when he says something like: “I feel that God has sent me here for a special purpose. I feel like I am to be a scientist or a musician.” That special purpose, which is sometimes good and sometimes evil, is Karma, and it is the result of what we have sowed in past lives.

How else can the scripture be fulfilled? “Every man shall bear his own burden…Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Gal 6:5&7 Alma said something similar- “For that which ye do send out shall return unto you again, AND BE RESTORED.” Alma 41:15 Also: “And ye can do good and be restored unto that which is good, or have that which is good restored unto you; or ye can do evil, and have that which is evil restored unto you.” Hel. 14:31 “See that you do not judge wrongfully for with that same judgment which ye judge, ye shall also be judged.” Moroni 7:18 Karma is the result of cause and effect. Just as we have Newton’s law of gravity which says that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction we have the law of karma which says that for every good deed we sow we receive an equal good (perhaps compounded by interest) back somewhere down the line. If we sow a bad deed we also receive that back. Karma is nothing new and is found in the scriptures as demonstrated above, the only problem is that the scriptures did not contain a word such as “karma” to define the law.

We find clearly expressed in the scriptures that the law of karma is real, that we will have good and evil returned to us, yet how often have we seen the wicked die without having his evil returned? How often have we seen a righteous man die with great suffering and we exclaim: “What did he do to deserve this?” Surely a lifetime of good works would have brought him more than a horrible death?

Ah, yes, says the authority, but God will fix things in the next world. He’ll see to it that all get their just reward. But will they? Can they??? How can an evil person reap what he has sowed in the physical world in the spirit world??? That would be like buying a house of stone and receiving one of wood. The wood house may be worth just as much as the stone one, but it is not what was ordered.

If someone kicked his brother in the seat of the pants he could receive a punishment in the spirit which may be equally as bad, but the only way such a deed could be equally restored is to have it happen in the flesh. Suppose a man commits the perfect murder and dies undiscovered. How is he going to be repaid in the spirit? Will devils burning him in oil do it? No. He would complain that is too harsh. Would suffering for all eternity do it? Again too harsh. Would feeling sorry do it? No the victim would say: “not enough”. What would be a suitable punishment? Amazingly, the scriptures clearly give us the answer: “And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life of man. Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed.” Gen. 9:5-6.

What could be more just for a murderer than to be murdered himself at some future date? If he were cut off in his prime just as his victim was he would begin to understand just how wrong it is to kill. Alma clearly spoke that we must “acknowledge to our everlasting shame that ALL his judgments are just; that he is just in all his works.” Alma 12:15 If the punishment were meted out exactly as he gave it then who could complain about it? If the murderer’s only punishment was to be in the spirit world, or to be damned for eternity in the resurrection, then I for one would complain that the judgment is not just and the scripture would be broken.

The above scripture in Genesis is used to support the doctrine of blood atonement, but such doctrine is greatly misunderstood. Joseph Smith taught some of the brethren some of the deeper doctrines in private councils and one of them was blood atonement. He was constrained by the spirit from mentioning reincarnation (to all but a few), however, this doctrine is essential to understand fully blood atonement. After Joseph’s death Brigham Young and others taught the doctrine with a great missing piece to the puzzle. Consequently, there were numerous errors in their teaching.

For example it was believed that the only way to atone for murder was to actually have one’s blood spilled. It is from this belief that stems the law in Utah that a person to be executed is given a choice of hanging or being shot so he can spill his blood What sense or justice is this? Only murderers in Utah have the chance for atonement while the other states do not have such a choice and the convict must go to the gas chamber or be electrocuted? Are murderers in Utah more righteous than other states??? Would God allow the sin of one murderer to be forgiven because he was LUCKY enough to have an opportunity to spill his blood; whereas another one gets no such opportunity and gets the gas chamber? Is god’s justice dependent on luck? I hope not.

The true doctrine of blood atonement is exactly as mentioned in the scripture: “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed.” If a man sheds another’s blood then sooner or later, in this life or the next, his blood will be shed by another man,

“Wait!” says the unbeliever. “The Lord is speaking about what He wants to be done. If man does not fulfill the commandment and put to death the murderer, then there is no way he will have his blood shed.”

This is a fine objection if one doesn’t believe the word of God the way it reads. It reads not as a commandment, but merely a statement of fact. Moreover, the real meaning is verified by other scriptures: “He that leadeth into captivity SHALL GO INTO CAPTIVITY; he that killeth with the sword MUST BE KILLED WITH THE SWORD. Here is the patience and faith of the saints.” Rev 13:10 This is not from the period of the law of Moses as some suppose, but the person speaking here was none other than John the Revelator. He is not speaking of punishments which our civil laws are supposed to deal out, but he is making a concrete statement of fact.

He who commits sin against his fellow men will reap in the same manner that he sowed. If he killed by the sword then he must be killed in the like manner. Yet how many people have killed with the sword and not been killed in the same manner during one lifetime? How many bankers, politicians, and dictators have lead into captivity and died escaping their just punishment? I’ll name just one: Hitler. Hitler killed with the sword and led into captivity, but he escaped punishment anywhere near equal to what he gave out. Because he was responsible for the death of millions he must come back and atone. He does not have to die millions of times for the atonement, as that would be close to impossible. Instead he must develop himself until he is man enough to come up with a program wise enough to be able to save as many people as he previously destroyed. He will probably have to give his life several times in the process. It would be unfair to require a million lifetimes to pay for one lifetime of mistakes, Our karma is like a great balance with the weight of past good deeds on one side and evil on the other. When Hitler was here he created for himself a great overbalance of evil. If he merely leads the life of an average man it will take him hundreds of lives to pay the debt, but if he leads some great heroic life and, say saves the world from something like an atomic war, then perhaps he could pay the debt in one lifetime. Generally, a man like Hitler will suffer many lifetimes: “How oft is the candle (life) of the wicked put out! and how oft cometh their destruction upon them!” Job 21:17. “And the earth will bring those long dead to birth again.” Isa 26:19 New English Bible.

The scriptures give us some interesting examples of how the wicked are to be punished in future lifetimes. Interestingly, part of the sealing powers of the priesthood is directed for such use: “And verily I say unto you, that they who go forth, bearing these tidings to the inhabitants of the earth, TO THEM IS POWER GIVEN TO SEAL both on earth and in heaven, the unbelieving and rebellious; Yea verily, TO SEAL THEM UP UNTO THE DAY WHEN THE WRATH OF GOD SHALL BE POURED OUT UPON THE WICKED WITHOUT MEASURE. Unto the day when the Lord shall come to recompense unto every man according to his work, and measure to every man according to the measure which he has measured to his fellowman.” D&C 1:8-10

Reincarnation is the only suitable explanation of the above scripture, for we are told that the wicked are sealed “Up unto the day when the wrath of God shall be poured out upon the wicked without measure…” When is this day to take place??? Verse ten indicates that it is just before the Lord shall come so it can only refer to the great judgments which are spoken of in the book of Revelations. Some of these judgments include pollution of the waters, grievous sores upon men, men will be scorched with heat, they will gnaw their tongues for pain, great wars with one army reaching two hundred million men, one third of men destroyed, the greatest earthquake in history, and many others. Read Revelations chapter 16 for example

How is it that the wicked in 1831 when the revelation was given can be here on the earth to suffer the wrath of God almost two hundred years later if there is no reincarnation? If you say the scripture is figurative or speaking of a punishment in the spirit world then how do you explain the next scripture: “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book (of revelations) If any man shall add unto these things, GOD SHALL ADD UNTO HIM THE PLAGUES THAT ARE WRITTEN IN THIS BOOK.” Rev 22:18 How could a Jew living in the days of John suffer the plagues which were to transpire nearly two thousand years later? How can one spiritualize this away and say it refers to the spirit world?

The book of Revelations prophecies about earthquakes, pollution’s, and wars on a physical earth, and plagues and deaths affecting the physical body. Plainly, then, he who adds to the book of Revelations must be reborn in “the hour of temptation which shall come upon all the world.” Rev 3:10. He then will have added to him the plagues that are written in the book. Paul also mentions this: “Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you… Who shall be punished with everlasting (AIONIOS age-ending) destruction from the presence of the Lord.” II Thess. 1:6 & 9. Also: “Behold, I will cast her into a bed and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.” Rev 2:22.

Paul spoke appropriately of the last days when he said: “And fire shall try EVERY MAN’S WORK of what sort it is.” I Cor 3:13. The Lord said: “Therefore, inasmuch as you are found transgressors, you cannot escape my wrath IN YOUR LIVES. Inasmuch as ye are cut off for transgression, ye cannot escape the buffetings of Satan until the day of redemption.” D&C 104:8-9 When one is turned over to the buffetings of Satan he “shall be destroyed in the flesh” D&C 132:26 & I Cor. 5:5.

When Nephi was interpreting the filthy water in his vision he said it was “hell”. His brothers then asked: “Doth this thing mean the torment of the body in the days of probation, or doth it mean the final state of the soul after the death of the temporal body, or doth it speak of the things which are temporal? And it came to pass that I said unto them that it was a representation of things BOTH TEMPORAL AND SPIRITUAL.” I Nephi 15:31-32 Here we have it in plain English. Hell is both temporal and spiritual. Men can suffer for their sins both in and out of the body, and since this temporal existence is part of “hell” how are men going to be sent there after they die if they are not born again?

“There cannot any unclean thing enter into the kingdom of God; wherefore there must needs be a place of filthiness prepared for that which is filthy.” I Nephi 15:34. Nephi tells us that that place which is prepared is hell, of which the filthy water in the vision was a symbol of, and such symbol “was a representation of things both temporal and spiritual”. Therefore those who suffer the temporal hell are sent back to the “temporal” earth.

The Missourians who persecuted the Saints are no doubt in Hell now. Many of them are now on the earth and have been born in very unfortunate situations, for the recompense they were given for their sins in the nineteenth century did not come close to paying for their sins. Of these people the Lord said: “Because their hearts are corrupted, and the things which they are willing to bring upon others, and love to have others suffer, may come upon themselves to the uttermost… Wo unto all those that discomfort my people, and drive and murder and testify against them, saith the Lord of Hosts; a generation of vipers shall not escape the damnation of hell. Behold, mine eyes see and know all their works, and I have in reserve a swift judgment in the season thereof, for them all. For there is a time appointed (A future life) for every man, according as his works shall be.” D&C 121:13, 23-25

The Missourians who persecuted the innocent are sealed up to have the judgments of God to be poured out on them. Perhaps they will join those who are prophesied to be scorched with heat and their tongues will stick to the roof of their mouth that they cannot curse their Lord. Speaking of Joseph’s enemies the Lord said “I the Lord will avenge thee of thine enemy an hundred fold.” D&C 98:45. The Missourians were not even avenged one fold. They have a large payment to make and they completely escaped their debt in recorded history.

The punishment of Cain is interesting to examine. After he killed Able the Lord told him: “A fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be IN THE EARTH.” Gen. 4:12 Cain was not a fugitive and vagabond in his lifetime. Instead he dwelt in the land of Nod and built a city called Enoch and formulated secret combinations to get control of the world. It is further stated: “And Cain said unto the Lord, My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass that everyone that findeth me shall slay me.” Gen. 4:13-14 Here Cain seems to fear that he will be slain more than once for he mentions that “everyone” that finds him will slay him. Let us read further: “And the Lord said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him seven fold. And the Lord set a mark upon Cain, lest any finding him should kill him.” Gen. 4:15

Has anyone stopped to ask how the Lord will take vengeance of sevenfold on someone who killed Cain? Will such a person be put to death seven times? If he is to be put to death seven times, how can this be without reincarnation? As it is we have no record of anyone slaying Cain at all; so was the Lord merely speaking idle words? Hardly. The Lord does not have scripture written unless the words are to find fulfillment somehow. It’s quite possible that some of the culprits in the Book of Mormon were incarnations of Cain. Akish may be an example: “And it came to pass that thus they did agree with Akish. And Akish did administer unto them the oaths which were given by them of old who also sought for power, which had been handed down even from Cain.” Ether 8:15 Who would be in a better position to revive the secrets of Cain than Cain himself? He would have had subconscious memories of all the secret plans.

The scriptures tell us that not only Cain, but other evil men also keep appearing in history to fight against righteousness: “Ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered to the Saints. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness.” Jude Verses 3-4. Part of this scripture is badly mistranslated. It should read: “For there are certain men crept in unawares, the judgment of whom has been written about long ago.” Yes the judgments of Cain and the wicked in Sodom and Gomorra and other bad characters was written about long ago and they return to their fate of being fugitive and vagabonds on the earth.

The next verse in Jude is also interesting: “I will put you in remembrance, THOUGH YOU ONCE KNEW THIS, how the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.” Verse 5 Here we have an indication that those living in the days of Jude once lived in the days of Moses, for they “once knew” about that time period, but now had evidently forgotten.

The scriptures plainly tell us that the wicked will not always be allowed to incarnate among the righteous: “God shall likewise destroy (overthrow – Hebrew) thee for ever (continually), he shall take thee away, and pluck thee out of thy dwelling place, and root thee out of the land of the living.” Psalms 52:5

“Wait on the Lord, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land (In a future life): When the wicked are cut off, THOU SHALT SEE IT.” Psalms 37:34

Speaking of the curse on the wicked the Lord also said: “Woe to you, ungodly men, who have forsaken the law of the most high LORD, AND IF YE BE BORN, you shall be born in malediction (under a curse – Hebrew), and if ye die, in malediction shall be your portion.” Ecclesiasticus 41:11-12. Here the prophet was clearly speaking of a future birth to those who were presently in the flesh.

One of the ways that individuals are made to pay for their sins is with sickness, disease and deformity in future lives. Can you think of a greater and more effective prison than being in a crippled body for a lifetime? Do you think a person suffers so just because of bad luck? Of course not. There is a justifying cause for everything that happens to us. “But,” says one, “I know this guy who is blind and he’s the sweetest man I ever met. He wouldn’t hurt a fly.” Yes, we all know many people who have their share of problems who are undoubtedly very nice persons, but keep in mind that no matter how nice we are now, that doesn’t mean that we haven’t done evil in the past.

Even within one lifetime we witness many wayward children become solid citizens and the spiritual leaders of tomorrow. Imagine how different you or I or our friends could have been thousands of years ago. Often, when a person commits a great sin he does not have the courage to pay for it in the next lifetime and the payment may be delayed for a long while until the individual develops the “guts” or internal fortitude to atone for his wrongs. By the time the courage has been developed he may have become a fairly nice guy.

The disciples asked Jesus: “Who did sin, this man or his parents that he was born blind?” John 9:2 From this question it is evident that they believed that a man paid in this life for sins in the past.

This doctrine helps us to understand some previously obscure passages: “Guilt was with me already when my mother conceived me.” Psalms 51:5 Knox Translation.

“And I was a witty child and had received a good soul, and whereas I was more good, I came to a body undefiled.” Wisdom 8:19-20 Apocrypha

“All these things God may do to a man again and yet again, bringing him back from the pit (death) to enjoy the full light of life.” Job 33:29-30 New English Version.

Thou, which hast showed me great and sore troubles, shalt quicken me again, and shalt bring me up AGAIN from the depths of the earth,” Psalms 72:20

It is obvious that the Jews commonly believed that present misfortune was caused by previous sins. After Pilate had some Galilaeans killed Jesus asked some observers: “Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you Nay: but, except ye repent, YE SHALL ALL LIKEWISE PERISH.” Luke 13:1-5

Here Jesus acknowledged that it was the common belief of the people that the greatest sinners received the greatest calamities. He didn’t say that that particular belief was wrong, but that it was a wrong judgment that those who had recently suffered an untimely death were the greatest sinners. He told them that they were as great a sinner as those who had died and confirmed that the common belief of the people was right by stating that “except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” In other words the sins of his listeners were as bad as those who had suffered calamity and that such sins would bring a similar calamity. Then in verses six through nine he gives a parable illustrating their sin. He compared them to a tree which did not bear any fruit, which is good for nothing but to be cut down.

When Jesus healed the man who was sick of palsy he said “Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.” When the people cried blasphemy Jesus answered: “Whether is it easier to say to the sick of palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk?” Mark 2:5-9 Interestingly, Jesus pointed out here that to forgive sins is a similar feat to healing. Jesus healed the man by merely forgiving his sins. The reason the forgiveness of sins healed him is that his sins , probably in a past life, caused the disease. When the hidden guilt was lifted a healing was effected.

Another time Jesus healed a man who had an infirmity for thirty eight years. Afterwards he met him in the temple and said: “Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon thee.” John 5:1-9 Plainly here Jesus told the man that harmful deeds could cause an even worse thing than the infirmity he had had for thirty-eight years.
Who can deny and at the same time even claim to believe the scriptures, that sin does produce disease and affliction? If it can produce it in one life then it can cause it in several lives. Modern revelation agrees by stating that to be free of the destroying angel we must be “walking in obedience to the commandments”. D&C 89:18. Speaking of the wicked in Missouri the Lord said: “And I will answer judgment wrath, and indignation, wailing, and anguish, and gnashing of teeth upon their heads, unto the third and fourth generation (Lifetime), so long as they repent not, and hate me, saith the Lord your God.” D&C 124:52

It would be unfair for the Lord to punish the children for the sins of their fathers, but since the Lord could not speak in terms of reincarnation it had to be written this way. As it is, many of the descendants of the persecutors have joined the church and are suffering no retribution. Who the scripture really condemns is not the children, but the actual transgressor, and he is condemned to suffer unto the third and fourth lifetime, or as long as he does not atone for his sins, or have his karma lifted through the power of Christ.

The scriptures even indicate that those who put Jesus to death will be here when he comes again. Their sins were so great that Peter did not offer them baptism, but commanded: “Repent ye therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. And he shall send Jesus which before was preached unto you.” Acts 3:19-20

These murderers were to have their sins removed when Jesus comes gain. Speaking of these individuals Jesus speaks of the time of his second coming when he personally appears to the Jews: “And then shall they weep because of their iniquities; then shall they lament BECAUSE THEY PERSECUTED THEIR KING.” D&C 45:53. Interestingly, those who will see Jesus come again are the same who persecuted him. This is verified by another scriptural witness: “Behold, he cometh with the clouds; and every eye shall see him, and THEY ALSO WHICH PIERCED HIM.” Rev 1:7

Isn’t it a fitting masterpiece of the justice of God to have the very individuals who put the Lord of Light to death, for whom he prayed for forgiveness, to have these same individuals delivered by this same Jesus, and greet him with a painful awareness of their sins, yet at the same time experience a joyful conversion? For these people Jesus will have great joy, like that of the Shepherd who found his lost sheep.

Conversely, the rewards of the righteous often extends over several generations or lifetimes. “know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments TO A THOUSAND GENERATIONS.” Duet. 7:9 A thousand generations would be more appropriately translated a thousand lifetimes.

Jesus said: “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and SHALL GO IN AND OUT, AND FIND PASTURE.” John 10:9. What does it mean to go in and out of the door? The door is symbolic of the entry way between spirit life and mortal life. Pasture is representative of spiritual meat and drink the righteous find when they use Christ as their shepherd. The righteous will go in and out of mortal life according to their will and have great experiences that will enlarge their souls until they reach the desired pasture of the millennium spoken by Nephi: “And he gathereth his children from the four quarters of the earth; and he numbereth his sheep, and they know him; and there shall be one fold and one shepherd; and he shall feed his sheep, and in him THEY SHALL FIND PASTURE. And because of the righteousness of the people, Satan has no power.” I Nephi 22:25-26. Here we find that the pasture is not some nebulous spirit world, but the pasture exists on this physical earth during the millennium of peace.

On this same thought Paul said “And the Lord will keep me safe from every attempt to do me harm and keep me safe until his heavenly reign begins.” II Tim 4:18 (New English). Keep in mind here that Paul knew he was about to die for he said a few verses earlier: “For I am ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand” (Verse 6). How was the Lord to keep him safe? Paul was to go in and out and find spiritual pasture until the heavenly reign begins. During that period he would be reborn and would enjoy the fruit of his labors.

Paul could easily say with David: “Lord, thou hast been. our dwelling place in all generations (From generation to generation New English Bible) Thou turnest men to destruction (Death); and sayest, RETURN ye children of men” Psalms 90: 1&3

Speaking to the Nephites who were present when Jesus visited the New World, Jesus indicated that they would be present when the dispensation of the fullness of times was brought in: “And verily I say unto you, I will give unto YOU a sign, that YE may know the time when these things shall be about to take place.” III Nephi 21:1

Samuel the Lamanite prophesied to the Nephites just before the birth of Christ that they would be the ones to suffer 400 years later: “And in the days of your poverty ye shall cry unto the Lord; and in vain shall ye cry, for your desolation is already come upon you, and your destruction is made sure; and then SHALL YE WEEP AND HOWL IN THAT DAY (400 Years later), saith the Lord of Hosts. And then shall YE lament, and say: O that I had repented, and had not killed the prophets, and stoned them, and cast them out. YEA, IN THAT DAY YE SHALL SAY: O that we had remembered the Lord our God in the day he gave us our riches, and then they would not have become slippery…” Helaman 13:32-33

The Lord said that holy men “confessed they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth; but obtained a promise that they should find it (The day of righteousness) and see it in their flesh.” D&C 45:13-14 What good would it do these men to see it in their flesh if they were raised to an immortal resurrection when Joseph Smith said that such resurrected beings “will not probably dwell upon the earth” (DHC 5:212) The real joy and reward would be the honor of being an actual part of that day of righteousness by being there in the mortal flesh participating.

When the day of righteousness shall come the Lord “shall say to the sleeping nations: “Ye saints arise and live; ye sinners stay and sleep until I shall call again.” D&C 43:18 In that day the wicked must stay in the spirit world and only the righteous can be reborn.

To the righteous in 1831 the Lord said: “But blessed are the poor who are pure in heart, whose hearts are broken, and whose spirits are contrite, for they shall see the kingdom of God coming in power and great glory UNTO THEIR DELIVERANCE; for the fatness of the earth shall be theirs.” D&C 56:18.

Speaking to scattered Israel in the days of Jeremiah the Lord said: “And it shall come to pass, after that I have plucked them out I will return, and have compassion on them, and will bring them again, EVERY MAN TO HIS OWN HERITAGE, AND EVERY MAN TO HIS OWN LAND.” Jeremiah 12:15. Those living in the days of Jeremiah will again obtain their property, but it could not be as immortal beings, for the immortals will not live here; thus they must obtain their inheritance as mortals. How can they do that if they are not born again?

Malachi gives us another indication as to how the Lord will deal with the righteous: “Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord harkened and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, IN THAT DAY ‘WHEN I MAKE UP MY JEWELS; AND I WILL SPARE THEM, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. THEN SHALL YE RETURN, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.” Mal. 3:16-18 Here we are not only told that Malachi shall return, but that the righteous from his day will be with him and shall be spared the latter-day judgments. Truly did David speak saying that God’s “promises are like metal tested in the fire.” Psalms 18:30 Knox

Speaking of the redeemed, John said: “And thou hast made us unto our God Kings and Priests: and WE SHALL REIGN ON THE EARTH.” Rev 5:10 “And he that overcometh and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them…” Rev 2: 26-27. Is this some nebulous promise that we shall rule from some throne in heaven only? No! If we are righteous God will exalt us as Joseph the son of Jacob was. We shall return and rule the earth in the golden age: “And my people shall be redeemed and shall reign with me on the earth.” D&C 43:29. Then we shall truly realize the promise of the Lord: “For whoso layeth down his life for my sake shall find it again.” D&C 103:27.

Solomon was speaking of past lives and ages of which we have no remembrance when he said: “There is no new thing under the sun. Is there anything whereof it may be said, See, this is new? It hath been already of old time which was before us. THERE IS NO REMEMBRANCE OF FORMER THINGS.” Eccl 1:9-11. Moffat translates that last sentence: “There is no remembrance of THE MEN OF OLD TIME” In other words we have no remembrance of the men of old time – who we used to be.

David speaks along the same terms: “I have considered the days of old, the years of ancient times. I call to REMEMBRANCE my song in the night: I commune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search.” Psalms 77:5-6

Now we have the testimony of Job. The words in parenthesis are clearer meanings from the Hebrew: “For enquire, I pray thee of the former age, and prepare thyself to search of their fathers (consider the fathers). For we are but of yesterday (beforetime) and know nothing (And do not know it) because our days upon the earth are a shadow.” Job 8:8-9 In plain English: We lived in the days of our fathers and we do not know it.

Has anyone stopped to consider the full meaning Of the following scripture: “So the last shall be first, and the first last, for many are called, but few are chosen.” Matt: 20:16. Also see Matt 19:30 Mark 9:35; 10:31; Luke 13:30; Ether 13:12; D&C 29:30 & 88:59. The world has a general idea of the surface meaning which is that many people who expect the greatest reward will receive the least, and many who are esteemed by the world as the first will be the last.

Not all that are presently first shall be last, but “many” Mark 10:31 will be. The many are those who are called and not chosen. Those who are first now and are chosen will continue to be first, but we are told that this number is few.

Many believe that this scripture is only fulfilled in the after worlds apart from mortality. For instance, a man who is a mere church member may rise above the church leader in the day of judgement.

Let me speak to you clearly and give you the true meaning. In the scheme of things man swings back and forth like a great pendulum. In one life he will be poor and spend his time dreaming of being rich. Since the Lord “granteth unto men according to their desire” Alma 29:4 God gives him the opportunity in the next life to be rich. However, the man is careless and abuses his blessing and does not return it to his Lord with usury. Thus the Lord takes his money from him and gives it to another; then in the next life the man is poor again and is again dreaming of riches. Then sooner or later he receives another chance at them. Thus the last become first and the first last, fulfilling the prophecy of David: “He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth the needy out of the dunghill; that he may set him with princes, even the princes of his people.” Psalms 113:7-8

Yes, in one life a man will be a peasant and in the next a prince. In one he may be weak and sickly, and in another healthy and strong. In one age he will suffer bad luck, persecution, sorrow, and in the next he will seem lucky, without a care in the world, spreading happiness wherever he goes. If the truth be known, one life in seven is a life of rest where we are blessed with peace and calm to gear up for the trials ahead.

Man must continue to shift from first to last and last to first until he learns to properly utilize the power and authority that comes from being first, Only a very few at a time learn this for “it is the nature and disposition of almost ALL MEN as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will IMMEDIATELY begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.” D&C 121:39. Thus many who hold the priesthood will cry: “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? (By thy priesthood). And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart from me ye that work iniquity.” Matt 7:22-23. When they are told that they have worked iniquity they will be quite puzzled and will wonder how this is the case when they seemed to do so much good through the priesthood. They will be answered- “You exercised unrighteous dominion. You did evil that good may come which is not of me.” When one tries to “exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the spirit of the lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the Priesthood or the authority of that man.” D&C 121:37. For instance, if someone tried to stop me from expressing myself by using the control of the priesthood; God would say AMEN to his authority. Then, since the man would have no authority, there is nothing for me to subject myself to but God only.

For many lifetimes man, then, swings like a pendulum from one extreme to the other, and usually finds himself committing the sins peculiar to each extreme. when he lacks power he envies those who have it, and when he has power he abuses those who do not. We are told that “wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction”. Matt 7:13 This broad way is the broad swing of the pendulum. The narrow way is the balance between the two extremes. This narrow way is what is meant by “salvation” in the scriptures. That is a man finally overcomes his enemies and becomes chosen – or chooses correctly.

He then has the privilege of obtaining power whenever necessary, because he has proven that he will not abuse such power. He becomes the first continually as far as the earth is concerned, but he then becomes among the “last” in the higher worlds of existence. Thus he is able to keep a balance on his humility, for even though he may be perfect as God is (Matt 5:48) and greatly honored here on the earth he is at the same time aware of how far he has to go in the higher worlds.

If a person were the top student in Algebra One and there were no higher courses and he had reached the highest degree of intelligence possible in that area he would begin to take great pride in his knowledge. On the other hand, if the student was aware that there were ten different courses in Algebra and he had mastered only the first, his outlook would be totally different. If he were to talk with others who had mastered Algebra two and three, he would feel quite humbled by the awareness of how far he has to yet progress, even though other Algebra One students think he is extremely brilliant.

This idea gives us a partial understanding to a reference Jesus made of himself: “I am the first and the last.” Rev 1:17. Jesus may be the first among the sons of men here on the earth, but he is “Least in the kingdom of heaven.” Matt 11:11. A statement like this, of course, causes those who are ruled by their emotions and believing that common sense has nothing to do with the kingdom of God – to howl for dear life. They think that no one could be greater than Jesus, yet he confessed that he was the least in the kingdom of heaven. Open your Bible and read it for yourself. Just think. If he was the least what would the greatest be like? How do you think Jesus was able to keep his humility? He keenly maintained this awareness that he was the least in the kingdom he was referring to. Jesus may be first here, but in a higher kingdom he is the last, so again we see that the first will be last. This is an eternal principle. Jesus will eventually be the first in the kingdom of heaven he was referring to, but then he will be the last in the next kingdom. This is part of eternal progression. What one accomplishes on a small scale here on the earth he must perform on a greater more exalted scale in the higher worlds.

Isaiah said: “He reduces the great to nothing and makes all the earth’s princes less than nothing.” Isa 40:23 New English. This principle applies whether the man is a prince on the earth or in the kingdom of God. The significance of our smallness must be manifest from time to time or our progression will stagnate. The position of Jesus now is comparable to a person who has completely mastered algebra one and is helping others master it, but at the same time is struggling with his algebra two lessons.

Copyright 1996 by J J Dewey

Eternal Lives, Chapter 9

This entry is part 9 of 17 in the series Eternal Lives

The Return To God

For the past few generations the LDS church has had a wide gap in its definitions of “salvation” and “exaltation”. The authorities say that exaltation requires great effort; whereas salvation is freely given to all and requires little or no effort. We are told that when one is resurrected he will achieve salvation and all men will be resurrected whether they want to or not. Jesus grants this salvation to everyone.

I cannot blame one for reading the above doctrine into the scriptures for before I read them carefully I believed it myself. However, a closer reading of the prophets certainly reveals that salvation is not obtained with an effortless resurrection, for we already have shown that the immortal resurrection must be obtained through great effort. It is true, however, that when one does obtain the incorruptible resurrection he is saved (from rebirth). Before one can obtain this though, he must pass from “exaltation to exaltation,” as Joseph Smith said.

The scriptures plainly reveal that salvation must be earned. Paul said “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Phil 2:12. Alma said “ye should work out your salvation with fear before God.” Alma 35:37.

The word “salvation” is translated from the Greek SOTERIA which literally means to “rescue” or “deliver”. The word is really quite relative, but it’s meaning is quite consistent in the scriptures. There are three main things the scriptures tell us we will be delivered from: (1) Death, (2) Sin, and (3) Destruction at the end of the age. Deliverance from this destruction will enable one to reign in the kingdom of God during the millennium. We are told: “If thou wilt do good, yea, and hold out faithful to the end, thou shall be saved in the kingdom of God, which is the greatest of all the gifts of God; for there is no gift greater than the Gift of salvation.” D&C 6:13

Generally salvation refers to deliverance from all of our enemies as Joseph Smith clearly said: “Salvation is nothing more nor less than to triumph over all our enemies and put them under our feet. And when we have power to put all enemies under our feet IN THIS WORLD, and a knowledge to triumph over all evil spirits in the world to come, then we are saved, as in the case of Jesus, who was to reign until he had put all enemies under his feet, and the last enemy was death,” DHC 5:389 Joseph Smith also said again and again that man is saved no faster than he gains knowledge.

Keeping the above quotes in mind we clearly see that salvation simply means deliverance from enemies through knowledge. Since this is so, how can the ignorant be saved unless they acquire knowledge? The Book of Mormon clearly tells us that the wicked will not be saved unless they make an effort: “But wo, wo unto him who knoweth that he rebelleth against God! For salvation cometh to none such except it be through repentance.” Mos 3:12 “But behold, and fear and tremble before God, for ye ought to tremble; for the Lord redeemed none such that rebel against him and die in their sins; yea, even all those that have perished in their sins ever since the world began, that have willfully rebelled against God, that have known the commandments of God, and would not keep them; these are they that have no part in the first resurrection. Therefore ought ye not to tremble? FOR SALVATION COMETH TO NONE SUCH; for the lord hath redeemed none such; yea, neither can the Lord redeem such.” Mosiah 15:26-27. “He shall take upon him the transgressions of those who believe on his name; and these are they that shall have eternal life, and SALVATION COMETH TO NONE ELSE.” Alma 11:40.

It is clear then that salvation is not an automatic thing that happens to everyone in a universal resurrection as the church teaches, but is something that must be obtained by faith and knowledge.

Even though the prophets indicate that salvation will require considerable effort they also indicate that all will eventually obtain it. Joseph Smith was once reported by Mathew S. Davis in a letter to his wife as saying that all would eventually return to the presence of God: “Here he entered into some explanations, which were so brief that I could not perfectly comprehend him. But the idea seemed to be that the soul of man, the spirit, had existed from eternity in the bosom of Divinity; and so far as he was intelligible to me, must ultimately return from whence it came.” DHC 4:79

Jesus said something similar: “Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.” Matt 18:14. Paul also agreed: “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; who will have ALL MEN TO BE SAVED, and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” I Tim 2:3-4. People who doubt the scripture will say that God’s will is not always done, but they forget that “For with God NOTHING shall be impossible.” Luke 1:37. They also forget the prayer of Jesus: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Matt 6:10. I contend that if it is the will of God that none shall perish, then that will of God shall be fulfilled. I say that if God “allotteth unto men according to their wills” Alma 29:49 then God shall surely be able to fulfill his own will. If God cannot fulfill his will then you and I have great reason to tremble and fear for he may not even be able to save us if we repent! What else can the believing mind accept except that God’s will, will be done and eventually through free agency “ the last weary pilgrim will find his way home.

Those who say that the Lord has doomed the wicked to eternal banishment from his presence have not read the scriptures: “And now, behold, I say unto you, never at any time have I declared from my own mouth that they (the wicked) should return, for where I am they cannot come, for they have no power. But remember that ALL MY JUDGMENTS ARE NOT GIVEN UNTO MEN.” D&C 29:29-30. Here the Lord leaves the field wide opened, for he tells us that all of his judgments are not given, and why? “Again, it is written eternal damnation; wherefore IT IS MORE EXPRESS THAN OTHER SCRIPTURES, THAT IT MIGHT WORK UPON THE HEARTS OF THE CHILDREN OF MEN, altogether for my name’s glory.” D&C 29:7

If the Lord told previous generations clearly that a way is opened for the wicked to eventually repent and return to his presence many would have become spiritually lazy and wait for the next life to repent, and their progression would be greatly delayed. Many are effected badly enough by the teaching that there is some repentance in the spirit world. Others say that since the telestial kingdom is supposed to be wonderful beyond our understanding, then that is good enough for them.

One can see why the Lord thought it wisdom to conceal the fact that all men will eventually return to his presence. But when you approach it logically one must ask, what loving Father would give up working on the deliverance of his sons and daughters? Is not God as good a father as we are? God has indeed prepared a way for all eventually to return. Whereas this knowledge may have an adverse effect on the laggards, truth will always inspire the righteous to greater heights. Think not that this has anything to do with Lucifer’s plan, for the Lord’s plan is predicated entirely on free agency, whereas Satan introduced a shortcut by taking it away. It is by no means the doctrine of the devil that God will always work for the salvation of man for it is written: “All flesh shall see the salvation of God”. Luke 3:6 Not only will many come back and see temporal salvation in Zion in the last days, but eventually all will gain the knowledge necessary to overcome his enemies. Will God ever stop a man from acquiring more knowledge? Verily, No.

Several scriptures referring to salvation also give indications of reincarnation. For instance we are told: “But he that shall endure to the end, the same shall be saved.” What is meant by “the end”? The word “end” comes from the Greek TELOS which is most appropriately translated “consummation”. This refers to the consummation or end of the age just prior to the ushering in of the millennium of peace. The next verse makes this crystal clear: “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the END (Consummation) come.” Matt 24:14.

Obviously enduring to the end does not mean the end of one’s life, but to the end of the age. How can one endure to the end of the age unless one is reborn here so he has the opportunity to endure?

Paul said that Jesus “gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world.” Gal 1:4 If, then the salvation of Jesus was to deliver us from this world, no salvation is to be confined to it. How can one be confined to mortal earth without reincarnation?

Since Joseph Smith said that all must ultimately return to God (DHC Vol 4; pg 79) it obviously follows that all will eventually be saved. This promise as well as many others must be cast aside unless we consider reincarnation.

Copyright 1996 by J J Dewey

Eternal Lives, Chapter 10

This entry is part 10 of 17 in the series Eternal Lives

Promises Unfulfilled

When the first quorum of twelve Apostles were set apart many promises were made which were not fulfilled in their lifetime.  I would venture to say that less than half of them came to pass during their lives. Here’s some examples:

Lyman E. Johnson was promised that “He shall see the Savior come and stand upon the earth with power and great glory.”  DHC Vol 2; pg 188

Heber C. Kimball was promised that “He may stand unto the coming of our Lord, and receive a crown in the Kingdom of our God; that he be made acquainted with the day when Christ  shall come; that he shall be made perfect in faith; and that the deaf shall hear, the lame shall walk, the blind shall see, and greater things than these shall he do.” DHC Vol. 2; pg. 189.

Orson Hyde was promised “That he may stand upon the earth and bring souls till Christ comes.  We know that he loves thee O, Lord and may this Thy servant be able to walk through pestilence and not be harmed; and the powers  of darkness have no ascendancy over him; may he have the power to smite the  earth with pestilence, to divide the waters, and lead through the  Saints; may he go from land to land and from sea to sea, and may he be like one of the three Nephites.” DHC Vol. 2 pg. 190.

David W. Patten was blessed “That he may go to the Nations and isles afar off.”  DHC Vol. 2; Pg. 190.  Actually, he was shot in Missouri before he could fulfill that blessing.  Also None of the above lived to see the Savior come in his glory for that day has not yet arrived and all the original twelve are now in their graves.  Orson Hyde was never like one of the three Nephites and he never divided the waters.

William Smith was also blessed that “He shall be preserved and REMAIN on the earth until Christ shall come to take vengeance on the wicked.”  DHC Vol. 2; pg. 191.

John F. Boynton was blessed thusly:  “Thou shalt stand in that day of calamity when the wicked shall be consumed, and present unto thy father, spotless, the fruits of thy labor.  Thou shalt overcome all the evils that are in the world.”  DHC Vol. 2; pg. 191.

Parley P. Pratt was promised: “You shall see a NATION born in a day.”  DHC Vol. 2; pg. 193.  Parley, of course died without seeing any such nation,  Was this promise in vain?  Were all the above promises the babblings of a false prophet?  While it is true that human error has to always be considered, it is also true that all of these promises can yet be fulfilled, for many of the early saints are upon the earth once more and their inner souls hunger for the day when these promises can truly be fulfilled.

I have met a number of people in our own day who have received beautiful promises in their patriarchal blessings, yet died seeing them unfulfilled.  I remember an elderly neighbor lady who received a promise that she would live to see Jesus come again.  The poor lady had faith in that blessing until the day she died.  Was her faith in vain?  No.  If she is judged faithful she may yet be born again and be here in the time period of the second coming.

I had some good friends who were blessed that they would have sons and daughters, yet they died in a car accident and only had one child.  Will they be able to see the fulfillment of that blessing? Yes.  They may yet have sons and daughters many times over.   If they are judged faithful they will “receive an hundred fold…children and lands.” Mark 10:30.

As I said we must recognize the possibility of human error any blessing given, even if stated by the greatest prophet in history.  We must also realize that human language is a very weak way of communicating, but even in taking this into consideration, there is no reason why we cannot assume that the above utterances are inspired and will someday be fulfilled.

Some people just tend to ignore promises like the above which have not been fulfilled, and like to pretend they don’t exist.  They lean entirely toward the heart and seem to think that using common sense is of the devil.  Others rationalize by stating that God will straighten things out in some nebulous way in the spirit world or resurrection.  Of course, they do not even bother to speculate on how God may do that, for speculation is of the devil, they believe.

All I can say is that I’m glad that Jesus speculated and stretched his mind beyond the law of Moses, or where would we be now?  Joseph Smith once said:  “Great God!  Is there no common sense on the earth!” DHC Vol. 5; Pg. 297     If he were here now and see how many refuse to think things out in their mind as well as there heart, he would probably ask the same question again.  “Behold, I will tell you in your MIND, and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost… This is the spirit of revelation.”  D&C 8:2-3.  If one wants the spirit of revelation he must use his mind as well as heart.  Logic and reason are not evil as many accuse.

So how will William Smith REMAIN on the earth until Christ will come?  Try and explain that without the principle of reincarnation.

John the Revelator was also given an interesting promise, of which we have no record of fulfillment:  “And I went unto the Angel and said unto him, Give me the little book.  And he said unto me: Take it, and eat it up;  and it shall make thy belly bitter, but it shall be in thy mouth sweet as honey.  And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey; and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter.  And he said unto me, Thou must PROPHESY AGAIN BEFORE MANY PEOPLES, AND NATIONS, AND TONGUES, AND KINGS.” Rev. 10:9-11.

Concerning this the question was asked:  “What are we to understand by the little book which was eaten by John, as mentioned in the 10th Chapter of Revelation?

A.  We are to understand that it was a mission, and an ordinance, for him to gather the tribes of Israel; behold, this is Elias, who as it is written, must come and restore all things.”  D&C 77:14.

Also concerning John the Lord said unto him:  “Verily, Verily, I say unto thee, because thou desirest this thou shalt tarry until I come in my glory, and shalt prophesy before nations, kindreds, tongues, and people.”  D&C 7:3

The great mystery then is where is John?  The answer is that he has either reincarnated or is walking and teaching on the earth incognito through some supernatural means.  If the scriptures are true he has taught “many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings” during the past two thousand years.

The average member of the church better pray that the doctrine of reincarnation is true for he surely will not get to the celestial kingdom or the presence of God without it.  Also those who died without a testimony of Jesus while in the flesh go to the terrestrial kingdom. D&C 76:71-74.  But even to go here we must be honorable and honest.  To go to the celestial kingdom we must be “Valiant”.   When you go before the judgment bar and the angel asks you what you have done that is valiant – what will you say? Wouldn’t you want another chance at life at that time to prove that you really can be valiant?  Also, before we can enter the celestial kingdom we must receive the “Manifestation of the Spirit, while IN THE FLESH, (that) they may be able to bear his presence in the world of glory.” D&C 76:118.  Why are we doing celestial ordinances for the dead, if they did not receive a manifestation of the spirit while in the FLESH???  Obviously, the only way those who died without such a manifestation can enter into such a world of glory, is to come back in the flesh and receive it.

And what is meant in the scripture by “manifestation?”   We are told that this is more than just a warm feeling, but that a man will have revealed to him things “not lawful for a man to utter”. Verse 115  These are things “seen and understood by the power of the Holy Spirit.” D&C 76:116. These are things which the average, or even the far above average member of the church cannot claim; thus they cannot claim the world of glory if their current belief system is accurate.

Therefore, the above average good Mormon who has not received such a divine manifestation should plan on going to the lower kingdoms for eternity – unless … unless there is some missing link of knowledge, such as reincarnation  which still leaves the door to the higher worlds open  to them.

Amazingly, the person with the largest number of unfulfilled promises was Joseph Smith himself.  To him the Lord said:  “And it shall come to pass that if you are faithful you shall receive the fullness of the record of John.” D&C 93:118.  The church believes that Joseph Smith was faithful unto the end, doesn’t it?  Where then, is the fullness of the record of John?

Continuing in that same section the Lord promises:  “That you may come unto the Father in my name, and in due time receive of his fullness.  For if ye keep my commandments  you shall receive of his fullness, and be glorified in me as I am in the Father; therefore, I say unto you, you shall receive grace for grace…Ye were also in the beginning with the Father; that which is spirit, even the Spirit of truth…And NO MAN receiveth a fullness unless he keepeth his commandments.” D&C 93:19-20, 23, and 27.

Read the whole section and you will see that “fullness” means to become like Jesus was.  How can Joseph Smith or any of us receive his fullness without further testing?

Speaking of his greatest promise Joseph said:  “I feel like Paul, to glory in tribulation; for to this day has the God of my fathers delivered me out of them all, and will deliver me from henceforth; for behold, and lo, I shall triumph over ALL my enemies, FOR THE LORD GOD HATH SPOKEN IT.” D&C 127:3

Many will say that Joseph did triumph over his enemies, and that the church is triumphing today, but scripture is not to be interpreted by impulse.  Let’s see what Joseph meant by overcoming his enemies: “Salvation is nothing more nor less than to triumph over all our enemies and put them under our feet.  And when we have power to put ALL enemies  under our feet IN THIS WORLD, and a knowledge to triumph over all evil spirits in the world to come, then we are saved.” DHC 5:387

It is obvious that when Joseph was promised he would overcome all his enemies that he interpreted  it to mean those in this world as well as the world to come.  We know little about his work in the spirit world, but we do know that he did not overcome all his enemies in THIS world.  His enemies temporarily overcame him and he was shot before he could fulfill his dreams of Zion and “a nation born in a day.”   He further stated: “Thus I will become a smooth and polished shaft in the quiver of the Almighty, who will give me dominion over every one of them” (His enemies). DHC 5:401  He also said:  “I prophesy and bear record this morning that all the combined powers of earth and hell shall not and cannot overthrow or overcome this boy, for I HAVE A PROMISE FROM THE ETERNAL GOD.” DHC 5:554

Brigham Young also expected Joseph to Triumph for he stated in 1843: “Yet he (Joseph) will lay a plan to speculate as large as ancient Joseph did; he will have power to buy up all the rest of the world.”  DHC 6:16

Speaking of Joseph’s future the Lord said:  “The ends of the earth shall inquire after thy name, and fools shall have thee in derision…But for a small moment and thy voice shall be more terrible in the midst of thine enemies than the fierce lion,”  D&C 122:1&4

Joseph was just approaching the point of overcoming his enemies when he was killed.  He was indeed laying a plan to buy up the whole world and bring peace as ancient Joseph did.  Joseph and his successors were not successful in establishing “a government of our own,” (DHC 6:222) and thus Joseph did not overcome his enemies in that life, nor did he fulfill his dreams.

As Moses, he was not allowed to enter the promised land.  After the failure in Missouri the Lord said:  “Now, behold, I say unto you, my friends, in this way you may find favor in the eyes of the people, until the army of Israel becomes very great.  And I will soften the hearts of the people, as I did the heart of Pharaoh, from time to time, until my servant Baurak Ale, (Joseph Smith) and Baneemy (Mine Elders), whom I have appointed, shall have time to gather up the strength of my house…They shall have power after many days to accomplish all things pertaining to Zion.”  D&C 105:26-27 & 37 (1962 Edition)

This is another promise yet to be fulfilled for Joseph and the Elders were never able to deliver the land of Zion in Missouri in that life.  Yet the Lord spoke it and can also fulfill.  Joseph was told to teach and learn all that he could “That ye may be prepared in all things when I SHALL SEND YOU AGAIN to magnify the calling whereunto I have called you, and the mission which I have commissioned you.” D&C 88:80 Again we are told that Joseph was to “remain unto them that have received his, that I may reserve unto myself a pure people.” D & C 43: Interestingly, Joseph Smith also said that he was to be a witness to the whole world and then the end should come.  See DHC 6:363

Concerning the future missions of Joseph Smith, he said his father “anointed my head, and sealed upon me the blessings of Moses, to lead Israel in the latter days, even as Moses led them in days of old.” DHC 2:380.  It might be said that Brigham Young led the Children of Israel like Moses, but Joseph Smith did not.

For further testimony we quote:  “For Joseph truly testified, saying: A seer shall the Lord God raise up, who shall be a choice seer unto the fruit of my loins…And he shall be great like unto Moses, whom I have said I would raise up unto you, to deliver my people, 0 house of Israel… And out of weakness he shall be made strong, in that day when my work shall commence among all my people…  They that seek to destroy him shall be confounded…   I will raise up a Moses; and I will give power unto him.” II Nephi 3:6,9,13,14, & 17.  All the authorities of the church interpret this person to be Joseph Smith; however, the Fundamentalists believe it to be a future Indian prophet and not without reason, for Joseph Smith in one life did not fulfill the entire prophecy.  His enemies overcame him and he did not deliver the people as Moses.  If one does not consider reincarnation it is understandable that one would solve the discrepancies by looking for another prophet.  Another prophet will indeed come, but it will be Brother Joseph who will lead the people as Moses and fulfill all the prophecies written about him.

One of the most important things the scriptures indicate that Joseph Smith will do is to expound the sealed portion of the Book of Mormon:  “Then shalt thou seal up the book again, and hide it up unto me, that I may preserve the words which thou hast not read, until I see fit in mine own wisdom to reveal all things unto the children of men.  For behold, I am God; and I am a God of miracles; and I will show unto the world that I am the same yesterday, today, and forever; I work not among the children of men save it be according to their faith.  and AGAIN it shall come to pass that the Lord SHALL SAY UNTO HIM THAT SHALL READ THE WORDS THAT SHALL BE DELIVERED HIM… And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the (sealed) book…. They also that erred in spirit shall come to understanding, and they that murmured shall learn doctrine.”  II Nephi 27s22-24,29 & 35.

Again speaking of Joseph Smith in the Latter-day period he said: “But behold, the life of my servant shall be in my hand; therefore  they shall not hurt him although he shall be marred (martyred) because of them.  Yet I will heal him (bring him to life in a new body), for I will show unto them that my wisdom is greater than the cunning of the devil.” III Nephi 21:10

Interestingly, just before Joseph Smith went to his death he stated that he expected to be marred more than any other man indicating that he believed he was the person talked about here as well as in the similar prophecy in Isa 54:t4.

Another interesting promise made to Joseph Smith is that he will hold the keys of the Priesthood until the Lord comes.  This is easily proved from the scriptures: “Rebel not against my servant Joseph; for verily I say unto you, I am with him, and my hand shall be over him; and the keys which I have given unto him, and also to youward, shall not be taken from him UNTIL I COME.” D&C 112:15

“Verily I say unto you, the keys of this kingdom shall never be taken from you, while thou art in the world, neither in the world to come.”  D&C 90:3

Joseph’s Father blessed him that he would hold “The keys of the mysteries of the kingdom until the coming of the Lord.”  DHC 2:32

Even in our hymnbook we have the phrase in PRAISE TO THE MAN: “Ever and ever the keys he will hold.”  We also have the prophecy: “Millions shall know Brother Joseph again.”

Again, we find an interesting prophecy that cannot be fulfilled without reincarnation:  “And I have given unto him (Joseph) the keys of the mystery of those things which have been sealed, even things which were from the foundation of the world, and the things which  SHALL COME FROM THIS TIME UNTIL THE TIME OF MY COMING,  if he abide in me.”  D&C 35:18.  Did Joseph Smith abide in the Lord? All the authorities say “yes.”  If they agree to this then they must agree that he is the one, according to this scripture, who will YET bring forth those things which are sealed.  Since the Lord doesn’t send immortal beings to do our work for us, then the only way for Joseph to fulfill this prophecy is to come back as a mortal.  Who can refute it?  Who has logic strong enough to stand against it?

Joseph’s patriarchal blessing by his Father reads:  “Thou shalt hold the keys of this ministry, even the Presidency of this church, both in time and eternity… Thou shalt stand on Mount Zion when the tribes of Jacob come shouting from the North, and with thy brethren, the Sons of Ephriam, crown them in the name of Jesus Christ.” OUR LINEAGE (Salt Lake City: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1933) pg. 14.  This certainly sounds like Joseph will be here during the winding up scene doesn’t it?

To Joseph the Lord also said:  “And this shall be you business and mission in ALL YOUR LIVES, to preside in council, and set in order all the affairs of this church and kingdom.”  D&C 90:16.

The mission of Joseph Smith in his various lives is given in the allegory of the tame and wild olive tree in Jacob Chapter Five.  We are told:  “I will liken thee, O house of Israel, like unto a tame olive tree, which a man took and nourished in his vineyard; and it grew, and waxed old, and began to decay.  The Lord of the vineyard is the Christ and the servant is Joseph Smith.  I will not quote the whole chapter, but the reader should read it all.  The allegory covers thousands of years and the servant is sent on numerous missions to work in the vineyard.  The ten tribes are hidden,  various branches are planted in the best part of the vineyard (America), the dispersion of Israel, Christianity, is all in the story and the servant is always there helping.  Each time the servant is sent to work in the vineyard it is symbolically speaking of Joseph being sent to the earth on a mission.

Finally speaking of the last dispensation  it says: “And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard sent his servant; and the servant went and did as the Lord had commanded him, and brought other servants (Brigham Young, John Taylor, Hyrum and others); and they were few.”  Jacob 5:70  After their mission is successful and the millennium ushered in the Lord said: “For behold, for a long time will I lay up the fruit of my vineyard unto mine own self against the season.” Verse 76  After this “long time” and evil fruit again appears the Lord indicates that he will send his servants to work for him again in verse 77.

A similar parable was given to Joseph Smith in D&C 101 :43-62. This parable concerns the redemption of Zion and again we have the Lord of the vineyard, the vineyard, the servant and his helpers.  The servant was told to redeem Zion and commanded to  “break down the walls of mine enemies… that by and by I may come with the residue of mine house and possess the land.”  D&C 101:57-58  “The servant said unto his Lord: When shall these things be?  And he said unto his servant:  WHEN I WILL;  go ye straightway and do all things whatsoever I have commanded you.  And this shall be my seal and blessing upon you – a faithful and wise steward in the midst of mine house, a ruler in my kingdom.  And his servant went-straightway and did all things whatsoever his Lord commanded him; and AFTER MANY DAYS ALL THINGS WERE FULFILLED.”   D&C 101: 59-62  Who fulfilled “all things?”  It was the servant.  The Lord himself answers: “Verily, Verily, I say unto you, that my servant Baurak Ale (Joseph Smith) is the man to whom I likened the servant to whom the Lord of the vineyard spake in the parable which I have given you.” D&C 103:21

How can any of these scriptures be fulfilled without reincarnation? In considering some of the scriptures referring to Joseph Smith, some of the early brethren speculated that Joseph Smith would come back as an immortal resurrected being and lead the Saints back to Missouri, but when has the Lord ever sent an immortal being to do the work of mortals?  That is not in the plan, and is against the law of the Gods, for there are certain things we must do for ourselves or they cannot get done at all.  After Jesus was resurrected and ascended he did not come back and head the church as an immortal, but let the mortal Peter do it.  God is the same yesterday, today, and forever in principle and cannot interfere with the free agency of men, or must suffer the effects of karma himself.

If one really believes the scriptures one must believe that Joseph Smith has unfinished business that he must return and fulfill.

Finally we examine one of the more interesting promises made to Joseph Smith:  “I was praying very earnestly to know the time of the coming of the Son of Man when I heard a voice repeat the following:  Joseph, my son, if thou livest until thou art eighty five years old, thou shalt see the face of the Son of Man; therefore let this suffice, and trouble me no more on this matter.  I was left thus without being able to decide whether this referred to the beginning of the millennium or to some previous appearing, or whether I should die and thus see his face.”  D&C 130:15-17

This was indeed a confusing answer to Joseph.  He wrote this in April of 1843, and at this time he was already aware that he would not live to be eighty-five for he prophesied that he would not live to age forty.  He also reported to have prophesied that he would not go to the rocky mountains with the rest of the Saints.  How was he to interpret it?  Perhaps, he thought, that he should die and see his face, but if he died before the age of forty how could it be said that he saw the Christ when he was eighty-five?

Perhaps it referred to a previous appearing or the millennium he thought. Finally he concluded that the millennium would not begin before 1890.  That much he knew for sure.  Finally, the idea must have occurred to him that he may be born again and live to the age of eighty-five, for he was praying to know the date of the second coming so the answer must apply to that; yet according to Joseph’s own prophesies the second coming will not be until the beginning of the seventh thousand years or at least the twenty-first century. Concerning the book of Revelation Joseph was asked:  “What are we to understand by the seven seals with which it was sealed?  We are to understand that the first seal contains the things of the first thousand years, and the second also of the second thousand years, and so on until the seventh.”  D&C 77:7

Here we are told clearly beyond the reach of argument that the seventh seal contains the things of the seventh thousand years which will begin at approximately the year 2000.  Almost all the Book of revelation deals with the seventh thousand years. Chapters eight through nineteen deal with this time period.

The ninth chapter deals with some of the last wars, and tribulations and concerning this, the question was asked:  “When are the things to be accomplished, which are written in the 9th chapter of revelation?
A.  They are to be accomplished AFTER the opening of the seventh seal (After the year 2000) BEFORE the coming of Christ.”

The 9th chapter just gives us the beginning of the tribulations. There are other things to come which may take quite a number of years.  Read the whole book and see.  In the face of all this evidence many in the church still say that the Lord will come BEFORE the year 2000. (I wrote this in 1978) We often hear people in the church say: “The coming of the Lord is nearer than you could imagine.”  Actually, it is farther away than they imagine and because they do not study the scriptures when the time passes that they expect the Lord to come and 2000, 2010, 2020 rolls by many will say “that Christ delayeth his coming until the end of the earth.”  D&C 45:26  But what are they saying now?  “The Lord is right on schedule!!!” They will not say that forever for the time will come when those who have not prepared will have their hearts and faith fail them.

In light of this evidence, why is it that so many expect the Lord to come before the year 2000?  (again the wording from a 1978 reference) The answer is that a day with the Lord is a thousand years to man and since the Lord made the world in six days and rested on the seventh then since the year 2000 approximately begins the Lords seventh day then the Lord will cause his millennium to begin around the year 2000.

This is good reasoning as far as it goes, but again someone did not read the scriptures..  It is true that the millennium is symbolic of the Lord’s day of rest, but the Lord did not rest at the beginning of the seventh day. He continued working:  “And on the seventh day God ENDED his work which he had made.”  Gen. 2:2 Then the same chapter goes on to tell us that God actually made Adam’s physical body on the seventh day and planted the garden of Eden.  Next God created the physical animals on the seventh day. See Gen. 2:19.  Finally, he created the woman.  Verse 21.

All this is easily verified in the Doctrine and Covenants: “Q What are we to understand by the sounding of the trumpets, mentioned in the 8th chapter of Revelation?

We are to understand that as God made the world in six days and ON THE SEVENTH HE FINISHED HIS WORK, and sanctified it, and also formed man out of the dust of the earth, even so in the BEGINNING of the seventh thousand years will the Lord God sanctify the earth and complete the salvation of man, and judge all things, except that which he hath not put into his power, when he shall have sealed all things unto the end of all things; and the sounding of the trumpets of the seven angels are the preparing and finishing of his work, IN THE BEGINNING OF THE SEVENTH THOUSAND YEARS – the preparing of the way BEFORE THE TIME OF HIS COMING. “ D&C 77 :12.

It is obvious then that Joseph taught that the second coming was going to be AFTER the year 2000.  Isn’t it possible that Joseph expected to be here in that time period when he said:  “I prophesy in the name of the Lord God and let it be written – the Son of Man will not come in the clouds of heaven till I am eighty-five years old.”  DHC 5:336.

In speaking of a future life when Joseph would live to be eighty five years old he told some faithful brethren:  “You will gather many people to the fastness of the Rocky Mountains and many of those who will come in under your ministry, because of their learning, will seek for position and they will gain eminence over you and you will walk in low places unnoticed, yet you will know all that transpires in your midst.  Those who are your friends are my friends, and I promise you that when I COME AGAIN I WILL LEAD YOU FORTH so that where I am you shall be with me.”  Life Story of Wandles Mace by Himself; Pages 131-132.

When will Joseph come again?  If we can figure out the time of the coming of the one mighty and strong we would know of the coming of Joseph Smith for the purpose of the one mighty and strong is to ”set in order the house of God”. D&C 85:7, and Joseph mission is to “set in order all the affairs of this church and kingdom” in all his “LIVES”. D&C 90:16.  Obviously, these two are one and the same person.

We do have one indication as to when this person will come. Lorin C. Wooley,  who was a body guard for John Taylor recalled an address he gave after receiving a manifestation of the Christ and Joseph Smith.  Brother Wooley said:  “He (John Taylor) said that in the time of the seventh president of this church, the Church would go into bondage both temporally and spiritually and that in that day the one mighty and strong spoken of in the eighty-fifth section of the Doctrine and Covenants would come.”  A LEAF IN REVIEW Page 235.

The seventh president was Heber J. Grant.  In his day the church did go into financial bondage, which bondage the average member has no knowledge, but it was caused by church’s investment in the sugar industry among other things.  The church was taken in spiritual bondage because they began to believe that all was well in Zion and adopt the ways of the wisdom of the world; the church was no more out of Babylon.   Finally, if the prophecy was a true prophecy, then Joseph Smith who is to be the voice of one mighty and strong was reborn during the administration of Heber J. Grant (Nov 23, 1918- May 14, 1945).

Sound unbelievable?  I admit that it does.   Yet old clichés are often true.  “Truth is stranger than fiction.”

Copyright 1996 by J J Dewey